Many of us like to think we’re important at work but exactly how important are we? Knowing where we stand is useful for several reasons. It helps build self-esteem, confidence and self-worth. It provides structure and purpose to what we do within organizations. And lastly, it assists us to develop a clearer picture of what we are worth to the business. When we’re important, we’re succeeding, but how is importance measured? The easiest way to test your importance is to test your influence over others because if you’re able to influence decision-making then that is going to carry more weight then a fancy job title.
Consider the following 6 influence markers and ask yourself how much of this is true?
How often does your line manager assign tasks to you?
How much does your line manager listen to your input?
How openly and freely are you able to speak when suggesting alternatives to your line manager?
How often do your co-workers assign tasks to you?
How much do co-workers listen to your input?
How do your co-workers react when you suggest a better solution to a problem?
Influence is a two-sided coin. On the one hand, you need to be building credibility with a line manager since they help you out with a good reference when applying for a job in the future. Yet, on the flip side, you also must keep co-workers onside and not come across as playing politics to get ahead. Organizations can be political minefields. Helping one person out can trigger a negative response in another person damaging your relations with them. Stepping on other people’s toes usually isn’t well received even though sometimes it’s called for when your line manager expects you to be autonomous and proactive.
If you’re not able to speak openly with your line manager, then there’s an internal cultural problem within your team that needs to be addressed before you can enjoy an open door to their office. One way to break down such a barrier is to anticipate questions your line manager might have in team meetings so you can answer them fully prepared if/when questions are raised. Knowing what someone will say before they say it, and being prepared with answers is a fantastic way of building instant credibility. When you have established credibility then your line manager will view you as an important resource they can draw upon. They love this because it makes their own job easier and are more likely to start assigning additional levels of responsibility to your role.
You must also establish trust with co-workers and the approach you should take here is similar. How much are they able to take their egos out the equation when you suggest an alternative idea? Are they dumping work on your desk which is not your main area of responsibility? Do they talk with you or at you? If these questions are raising a few alarm bells then chances are you’re not influential. Finding ways to help co-workers, even if it’s outside your core focus is a good way to break down barriers with co-workers but just be careful you don’t end up doing their job for them! Ensure your efforts are reciprocated and your colleagues are also going the extra mile for you. It’s in this back and forth trading of favors that influence accumulates. Overtime you’ll end up in a situation where others are doing things for you without asking, they’re listening to your feedback and ideas and will be quite receptive to suggestions if you have a solution to their problem. It all boils down to trust your influence within your organization will grow.
If you are an Accounting/Finance Professional interested in exploring new opportunities in the Brisbane market we’d love to hear from you on (07) 3135 9780. I also encourage you to join our private LinkedIn network Accounting & Finance Professionals in Brisbane (click here). As you probably are aware we do move quite quickly on the roles we recruit for so it pays to stay ahead of the competition. Our group is an exclusive community I am building up for Finance Professionals in Brisbane who want to share job search opportunities, industry news, blogs and other content. You’ll also have an opportunity to network with each other. You might even come across some people you have worked with in the past!