A Coaching Moment: Gaining Influence within Your Organization / Workplace

Real Estate Agent with PacifiCal Realty Group - Keller Williams

Most people have to work their way up the corporate ladder to acquire the position, title, and team they really want. Achieving your professional goals takes adept maneuvering, some politicking, and a lot of patience. Here are several things to keep in mind as you ascend up the ranks, and move closer to your dream job. 

Get to know the new guys

When new people come into an organization, they are blank slates. They have no alliances or enemies within the organization, which presents a golden opportunity for you. By building close relationships with new people in the organization, you have the opportunity to shape their loyalties. In addition, as these people move up the corporate ladder, they will remember the kindness you showed them when they were new and reward you accordingly. Find clever ways to spend as much time as possible with people as they enter the organization. For instance, volunteer to train new recruits. 

Stay close to the money

In any organization, the people closest to the money are the most powerful. For instance, a marketing department generally has less power than a sales department, because salespeople bring in the clients who pay to keep the lights on. Salespeople who service big accounts have more influence than those who service small accounts. The more money you are close to, the more power you have. If you are in a department or position that is away from the money, look for creative ways to bring the money to you. For instance, if you are in the IT department, offer to negotiate better deals for software licenses on your company's behalf. Saving money is just as good as making it. 

Make your bosses look good

Your boss will almost always be your most direct route to more influence, because he has access to people who are higher up the organizational food chain, and a daily experience with your strengths and skills. Does your boss take credit for all your best ideas? Let him. If your boss gets promoted on the strength of your ideas, he will have no choice other than to request that you join him, as he works his way up the corporate ladder. Even if your boss doesn't take credit for your ideas, make sure you give him as much credit, as often as possible. For instance, during a performance review with HR you could say, "It's easy to hit my sales numbers when my sales manager sets such a strong example." Your boss looks good, you look good, and your department looks good. 

Learn something valuable that no one else knows

Knowledge is not as powerful as exclusive knowledge. When you know something that no one else knows, you become indispensable. For instance, if you are the only one at the office who can speak fluently to your German clients, you will always have control and influence over the German accounts. However, you need to be careful not to pick up skills that no one else wants to develop. For instance, if you become the one person at the office who knows how to reset email configuration settings, guess what you'll be doing all day...

Neutralize the competition

In any business, there are bound to be people who are rooting against you--people who want the same promotion as you, for instance. These situations often devolve into rumor wars that make both parties look bad. Stay above the fray, never spread false information, and look for opportunities to praise your competitors. This will make it impossible for them to attack you without looking petty or downright mean.

Posted by


Kathleen Vetrano
RE/MAX Gateway - Falls Church, VA
Helping YOU Achieve YOUR Dreams

Sound advice.  A good review for working within an organization and with other colleagues.

Jun 23, 2011 06:53 AM