Working with a team can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the workplace. By embracing opportunities to work collaboratively you can increase your influence and maximize your impact.
For those of you who’ve worked with me over the years you’ve heard me talk repeatedly about influence. It’s such an important concept for so many reasons.
The idea of influence is often overlooked because many believe they must first have authority in order to influence. While authority certainly has its benefits, those who can influence without authority have mastered something truly special.
Use your influence – don’t waste it!
This is where most people get stumped, throw up their hands and walk away. Don’t do that, this isn’t as hard as you would think, and I’m going to show you how.
Here are the five things you can do right now on your permanent work team, ad-hoc, or even temporary project-based teams to become a more influential team player.
- Bring your enthusiasm – I considered calling this one “Don’t curb your enthusiasm” but resisted. In reality you need to bring your enthusiasm to the team because it is the impetus for action. It takes energy to be enthusiastic but people will be drawn to your ideas, and to you for that matter if you are enthusiastic – enthusiasm is contagious. You can demonstrate enthusiasm by showing a sense of urgency and by adopting a willingness to do more.
- Be the better communicator – If there is one repeated breakdown on teams it is communication. You can help. Begin by connecting with others on your team, with the goal of building lasting business relationships. Sharing knowledge about team objectives and processes – both within the team and outside the team – increases transparency and engagement. The team player with enthusiasm and information is influential.
- Collaborate with courage – People who view their teammates as competitors, always angling and elbowing co-workers out of the way, struggle to collaborate. And teams that don’t collaborate will fail to achieve their fullest potential. You can support collaboration by finding the courage to focus on the team first, rather than yourself. Looking for opportunities to reach out and support your teammates will establish you as a collaborator, build your relationships with others and ultimately strengthen your network.
- Solve problems – Obstacles, setbacks, complications are everywhere in the workplace. Don’t think of these bumps along the road as problems, instead, look at them as opportunities to find solutions! I actually find this process exciting because it’s an opportunity to collaborate with my team, brainstorm, think outside the box and try something new. And when you succeed in finding the solution – I recommend that you celebrate with a pint!
- Commit to competence – If you are competent your teammates will trust you to perform your job proficiently. Doing what you say you will do supports your credibility and builds others confidence in you. Take the time to develop competence and your influence will grow.
You are probably doing one or two of these things quite well right now – so you’re already well on your way to growing your influence! Next, take some time to focus on the things that could use some improvement and you will become a more influential team player.
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