As rigid business structures give way to small, project-based teams and specialized channels of business, influence is more important than ever to individual success. Even performing your day-to-day tasks requires the buy-in of multiple individuals when you work on a cross-functional team. But influencing people to vouch for you to receive extra responsibilities, make that sale or give that presentation can catapult you past simply fulfilling your role and open new doors for your career.
Are you on the right track with regards to your informal power? How can you measure your influence, if it doesn’t always manifest itself with a “senior” title or a monetary bonus?
Maxim Sytch, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, outlined a “power audit” process in the Harvard Business Review. The audit helps you measure your informal power, while also pinpointing the power players in your network and how you can strengthen your relationships with them.
Does your power audit have some red flags? There are several ways to boost your informal power. First, find new ways to deliver value to your contacts. Develop your skills, and offer to help people with the skills you already have. Leverage your role to work on cross-functional and cross-organizational projects. Also, develop personal relationships with your collaborators. Knowing coworkers on a personal level makes exchanging favors less awkward, and puts you in the position to offer value to someone in many different ways.
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