Contribution from Subject Matter Experts (SME)

How powerful people influence and impact?

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Your ability to influence and impact is paramount to your success. It will determine what you get done in relation to your tasks, your clients, your suppliers and with your colleagues.

With low impact and influence, our efficiencies are poor and we have to work so much harder to get stuff done. We find ourselves overstretched and under resourced. We get stuck, pulled down into the sticky quicksand of work when we actually want to be up above the workload, doing the important work of making our lives and the lives of others better.

Corporate power has traditionally been explained through labels, titles. However innovation, co-operation, technology and social media are loosening the hierarchical grip on power. Those leaders relying on title to influence and impact, are quickly becoming irrelevant and dismissed as historic. If you are rigidly sticking to hierarchical power as your main tool, you may not know it, but you are a sitting duck waiting for disruption to destroy you. There is a shift in Machiavellian power and it is happening faster than I can type.

And if the organisation expects, relies, or encourages impact and influence only through title, the engagement, retention and attraction scores are suffering. This is because, leadership isn’t given through title, through anything – it is earnt and in many cases learnt.
I very often see people mistakingly wait for power to arrive as they progress through the ranks and then are surprised when it remains elusive even after title promotions (e.g. emerging leaders). I see people knee deep in the quicksand of production, doing long hours, urgent tasks, disengaged with their work and with their contribution. How do we help our colleagues make a difference, how do we give them fulfilling opportunities and how do they use their purpose to champion our future?
Wherever we are positioned in the corporate hierarchy, we all have more power than we think. We should all be working to maximise our personal power whether for internal or external influence and impact. We need to Power Up. Like a smartphone is capable of so much more than emailing and internet, we are capable of so much more leadership power. But…many of us fail to read the instructions, to either the smart phone or ourselves!

How do you move through to a more impactful and influential position – to get more of the stuff you want to do, done. Here are 3 of the 9 steps we need to go through if we want to have influence and impact beyond our title, the how to of Power Up.

1. Conscious rapport

Understanding how to create strong and appropriate rapport is key to influence and impact. For some this is a skill that has to be learnt through consciously slowing down the processes of engagement. Tuning into and understanding others’ thoughts, feelings and behaviours is key. The science of rapport building is essential learning.

2. Determine purpose and values

Understanding what ignites and excites us is part of a conviction piece which intensely drives our personal power. And understanding the values we are prepared or not prepared to use to get there is critical. There is a common belief (created early on in our lives) that goals set by others (e.g. hierarchy) are our purpose. But when we become our own leader, we need to set our own purpose. This is what drives our power.

3. Identify fears

Fears are not always rational. Sometimes we have fear that is inhibiting for reasons that are not clear to others. In fact, by definition they are self-defined, and what one person fears is likely to be different from the next. Fears are sometimes driven from our thoughts, for example the fear of being disliked or the fear of losing control. Such fears inhibit our best selves/team. If we overcome our fears instead of avoiding them, we could reach our untapped power.

For the other 6 steps on how to Power Up, or for details on how to identify your leader’s level of impact and influence, download the paper Power Up here.

Amy is a communication and influence expert. She works with individuals and teams who are transitioning into higher hierarchical positions. Don’t rely on the change in job title for power to influence – it’s short-lived!
Amy’s models move people quickly into positions of compelling leadership and powerful impact & influence. She is a sought after trainer and speaker in the area of behavioural change for professional excellence. Subscribe to her popular blog – Silverlinings!

 

Dr. Amy Silver
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2 comments

  1. Paul David Richard Griffiths

    THat is an interesting piece Amy – it is a key aspect of leadership but we seldom think about power and it is a theme that many people feel awkward about. Possibly because it is so intertwined with ethics. But as you imply in the knowledge economy most of what we need to get done is through networks, not hierarchy, so we had better come to terms with it.

  2. amy

    Yes I agree fully Paul. It as if we have synonymized the word power with coercive control. I often hear myself joke ‘I will help you get more power/influence and impact but you must use it for good!’. But infact, influence and impact is like a tool that we all should be using, not just the ones using it for bad! I guess you could say the same for education, internet connection, oratory skills – if only a few know how to use it, it will be vulnerable to being used for coercive control. I believe we ALL have much more power than we think and we ALL must be taught how to use it – to limit the coercive control of the few. Here’s to the light side. Thanks so much for your comment Paul. All the best.

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