How to Build up Influence in an Organization?

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Hagberg Model of Personal Power > Best Practices > How to Build up Influence in an Organization?

How to Build up Influence in an Organization?
zijiang yang, HR Consultant, China, Premium Member
I read the summary of the Model of Personal Power (Hagberg) with interest.

Recently I began to have a keen interest in the topic of "influence". To gain influence and to help improving the company, new employees (managers) need an opportunity or occasion to be identified by the company's (top) management.
However, such opportunities do not come out of thin air. What kind of opportunities are most suitable?

If there is no special opportunity, how can employees still acquire and grow personal influence within their organization? What methods exist to help employees (managers) expand their influence in the organization?

Thank you for your help and suggestions.

Relationship with your Colleagues
Pedro Monteiro, Manager, Portugal, Member
Create a healthy relationship with your colleagues (they're colleagues before followers). Ethical, right, strong, trustful and correct relationship.
Then, being a manager, you're supposed to be someone with a higher knowledge level about organizational matters. If so, coach and teach others according to your own perspective on processes, problem solving, communication, etc. They'll recognize you as a leader. A leader influences its followers. It's a natural process...

How to Build up Influence in an Organization
Cesar, Teacher, Mexico, Member
If you work properly, have good values and reputation, have a good leader behavior... The rest will follow.
There is no simple formula that you may use to achieve those results.
Try to gain the confidence of your employees. To achieve a position of influence, first be yourself and serve to others.
That is my advice.
When I was young there was a book called "the art of manipulation", the subject was how to change people, and obtain results through manipulating them…
Today, leadership gives us results if we learn first how to be a subordinated… The better subordinated you are, the better leader you will be.

Trying Too Hard is Likely to Be Unproductive and Quite 'Wrong'
Ivan Kohlinsky, Management Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
When a young man or a young woman is trying/hoping to meet their life partner, they often find it a problem and someone often says to them 'You are trying too hard. Just go about life normally, doing what you enjoy etc etc”. Then somehow it does seem to 'happen'.
Similarly, as Cesar mentions, it is somehow insecure and counter productive in the long run to manipulate things to 'get the eye' and to impress.
Someone who pretends to different than he/she actually is like, will probably not achieve such goal. Instead, honesty, sincerity, hard work, and good ideas do work. So be truthful and good at what you do.

Chinese Approach to Influence Building
Kappagomtula CL, Professor, Malaysia, Member
Influence building is an art which could be by way of an 'inborn trait' or 'rearing up in the environment' to make it as an 'acquired' skill.
While Hagberg's model is of a relatively new origin, the concept can be tracked to 2500 BC in ancient China. The words used by Chinese are, Guanxi (networking) and Mianzhi (concept of Face). These two words are in use in China, right from Chinese philosopher, Tao's era. Extending and expanding the social circles is taught and practiced amongst Chinese, right from their Childhood days. Further depending upon the position and family in which a Child is born, that individual gets, 'face' which is a reflection of power for that individual. The 'face' or the influence of power can be borrowed or even sold amongst fellow Chinese and any 'misuse' of this power, will bring 'irreversible' shame to the individual who have used that 'face'.

Subordination versus Servant Leadership
Jan Palencar, Member
@Cesar: Dear Cesar, sorry maybe I am struck by your formulation. But the words you are using are somewhat unfortunate.
Subordinate, etc... The best leaders are those that serve others, but that does not mean to be subordinate, it means to be of service so everybody else can do their work at their best performance.
People will follow you for doing this to them. Because you simply care. There is no hook, no manipulation, just respect and trust.

Subordination versus Servant Leadership
Cesar, Teacher, Mexico, Member
Dear Jan Palencar, you are right at your reaction!
What I said first was "to achieve a position of influence, first be yourself and serve to others". To be subordinated (not to subordinate) means to serve to others.
So, I agree with your reaction!

Personal Power & Influence Idea
jill anderson, Business Consultant, Member
As a national sales leader in 2005, one of my regional managers asked for help to build her teams' influence with their customers. Her team was young and inexperienced; their buyers were older and wiser. She was looking for help beyond honest, need-satisfaction sales techniques.
I picked up The Psychology of Power & Influence by Robert Cialdini at the airport and read it on the way to the meeting. At first, I was horrified because the "influence" techniques seemed manipulative but there were definitely points that made sense. Seven years later, I was using that book religiously as a business coach and adjunct professor teaching an MBA-level course called Leading Change.
Check out this short video to see if you can make some applicaties for your new managers and young leaders. These concepts are simple and powerful when thoughtfully applied to personal situations..

Building Influence in an Organization: The Role of Environment
Ayele Abdata, Manager, Ethiopia, Member
The most important factor to build up influence in an organization is a conducive environment. Employees who have special talents and leadership skills and potential cannot manifest that potential in an organization having a discouraging and stringent culture.
Consider a school of fish. They have the inborn potential and ability to swim. They were born to swim and release their potential to swim. But to fulfill that purpose, any fish needs a favorable environment. That environment is a free, fresh and deep sea. Without a sea environment, can the fish manifest their glory of swimming?
One more example, look at an eagle. An eagle can show its glory of flying high and fast if and only if it gets free and open sky. If there is no conducive and free (open) sky, who can be impressed by the ability of the eagle?
The same logic holds true to a human being's ability to influence and motivate people to act towards a common goal.

Building Up Influence in an Organisation
Omondi, Manager, Kenya, Member
It's the behavior, attitude, confidence and task delivery focus what will make young managers be noticed by senior team members. The trust that builds up in this process then propels the young manager into the correct network of seniors approval hence positive influence builds in.

Building Influence in an Organiation
Neilson Asiedu, Strategy Consultant, United States, Member
Building influence by managers in an organization for growth requires leadership skills. It is informal and takes time to build. In an organization, opportunities for managers are identified through talent management and succession planning. Succession process planning identifies opportunity gaps and fills based on retirements, dismissals, resignations, deaths, product, and services redesigning.
For personal influence, managers should build a culture of transparency and trust, engaging workers by face-to-face interactions and motivating them by listening and solving their problems. This fosters the relationships to achieve your wants. Transparency drives change in an organization, where you buy-in to your views before you buy-in for your vision.
Building influence is about inspiring and persuading to achieve your goals, and not to burden teams, by that you are influential, not invisible.

Influencing People in Organization
Isaiah Maisiba, Accountant, Kenya, Premium Member
Influence can be drawn from formal and informal sources.
Members of any group define their roles by their behaviors in the group. For example, in case of an emergency a person who is most calm and guides the group become a de facto leader. In the army, anybody who sighted the enemy first takes command. Bureaucrats draw their influence solely from the office.
As leader in an organisation you have power/influence by virtue of your position.
Charismatic leaders often use informal power thereby legitimizing their influence on others. Sources of power/influence include: information(power), and knowledge(power).
Participatory leaders are more influential than dictators.
In addition those who champion the welfare of colleagues may earn respect and thus become elected stewards.
Influence building entails employment of emotional intelligence in dealing with your bosses, colleagues, juniors and all stakeholders be it suppliers, creditors, government agencies etc.

Your Distinctive Character and Personality will make you Stand out
Friday O. Ngbodi, Student (MBA), Nigeria, Member
I think, by analogy with a football team, you need to exhibit the characteristics to stand out:
- Distinctiveness
- Personality with a high sense of professionalism, and
- A certain degree of favorable reliable predictability.
If you show you have these characteristics, you are likely to be appointed the team captain.

Build Up Influence in the Organization
jeymerd bello, Analyst, Member
@Cesar: I believe leaders must create ways and an environment to establish good relationships between the followers as a connector, and be supporting and helping for them.

Generating Personal Influence
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
I agree with almost all of the points made.
Ordinate = order/hierarchy. Subordinate = below in a hierarchy. Superordinate = above in a hierarchy. All these terms are a factual reference to a position in a ranking (organisational or species) order.
Primarily you should provide the results required by your line senior; if credited your influence happens.
Network widely, do favours (not just peers, DO NOT become a ‘toady’ to superordinates). Be a leader with colleagues and contacts. Be ethical, objective, courteous. Ensure appraisals give you recognition.

If credit isn't given, learn how to manage your manager; resort to ‘politicking’. Create an opportunity for your successes to be heard of by your line-senior’s senior (via a good relationship with their secretary; the tea-lady or cleaner or from a colleague in a different unit. Hearing good things about someone within your area of responsibility from someone outside it has a big impact, raising questions about what else is being kept from you.).

Use the 4 Cs Wisely to Enhance Personal Influence in Organizations
C.L. Kappagomtula, Professor, Malaysia, Member
Two categories of Individuals rise to mercurial (Editor: ~changing suddenly and often) levels in organization:
  • The first set are sycophants (Editor: ~bootlickers, flatterers) and influence mongers, who can stoop to any level to their 'bosses' and gain influence in the organization, albeit being hatred by their peers.
  • The second set is by way of personal charisma and these people usually have CONCERN for the organization, COMMITMENT, CREATIVITY and above all COMPETENCE. Those who can outperform in these 4 Cs parameters are invariably influential in any organization, and they are liked and emulated by every employee in the organization. They cast their umbrella of influence in the vast canopy of the organization.

How Transformational Leaders Build Influence
Isaiah Maisiba, Accountant, Kenya, Premium Member
Transformational Leaders (TLs) live exemplary lives, denoted by the 4 Is:
- Idealized influence (charisma),
- Inspirational motivation,
- Intellectual motivation, and
- Individualized consideration.
These 4 tools enable them to exert influence on voluntary followers. TLs follow ideals, motivate followers via inspiration, intellectually challenge them, and show individualized concern.

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