3 Ways Women Can Increase Their Influence
Influence and leadership isn’t just for the workplace. As women, we also have a tremendous amount of influence in our personal lives. But, every single one of us wants MORE influence. Think of any time in life when you were mad, upset, or frustrated, (maybe just yesterday!) and I’ll show you a time where you wanted more influence with someone. Co-worker, boss, parent, children, or spouse are all examples of people we want to have influence with. Because, more influence means more opportunity to share experience, wisdom, opinions, insights, and perspective. But, influence must be earned. Just like respect and trust, we can’t demand it or pretend it isn’t important. We have to earn it through our actions and interactions with others. I could write all day about why it’s important but let’s cut to the chase. Here are three ways to increase your influence:
Learn something about the other person
Leadership and influence is based on the relationship you have with someone. For example, if someone you don’t know very well (or don’t like very much) asks you for a favor, you aren’t inclined to go out of your way to help them. But, when you do know (and like) the person, you don’t mind helping out. Aren’t you more likely to buy Girl Scout cookies from the family you know than the random Girl Scout at Walmart selling cookies? Of course. So, when it comes to influence, learn something about the person and build the relationship. The better your relationship with them, the more influence you will have. Learn what they do for fun, what hobbies they have, or what their kid’s names are. Ask questions – and listen to the answers.
Add value to the other person
At heart, we all have one thing in common – we care about ourselves. It may be a bit selfish, but when someone adds value to you, they have more influence with you. The person who goes out of their way to help you will influence you much more quickly than the person who is only looking out for themselves. So turn it around, and be the first person to help someone else. Offer to help with a favor, volunteer a helping hand, or simply ask what you can do for them. Or better yet, just do with without waiting for them to tell you. Mack got up on Sunday morning and washed my car without me asking him to. Does that increase his influence with me? You bet! And, I have a nice shiny clean car too!
Appreciate the other person
I don’t think it’s possible to say “Thank you” or “I appreciate you” too much. Most of the time, we are not focused on the other person enough to remember to always show appreciation. But, it makes all the difference in the relationship when we do. Handwrite and mail a thank you card – it’s an “old-fashioned” touch that will really make you stand out. Scribble a post-it note to your significant other to say “thanks for bringing in the groceries (or anything else).” Leave a little chocolate – it doesn’t have to be a big or expensive anything. It really is the thought that counts here – but only when you share it! With people, the little things are the big things.