“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” ~ Ken Blanchard
Haleigh had been working for months to enhance others’ perception of her. She felt like she was slipping under the radar and needed to increase her visibility in her organization. After taking on several high-profile projects and solving one major problem that had been troubling her boss, she knew she had met those goals. Now she found herself at an interesting juncture in her career: She was thriving in her role, and she felt certain that new opportunities were bound to open up soon. What should she focus on, now that she’d met those goals?
Perception and visibility are the two pillars supporting influence. In other words, they’re prerequisites for cultivating influence over others at work. Now that Haleigh had developed both of them, she was ready to start exerting her influence throughout her organization.
To recap on the first two components of the PVI model, ensuring that others have a positive perception of you gives people a reason to want to follow your lead. Having visibility ensures they know about you. When you have both of these qualities, influence will follow—if you have the confidence to exert it.
Influence—the third component of the model—does not depend on formal authority. No matter what position you hold, you can start growing your influence right now.
People of influence are the ones others come to for input on their big ideas.
Leaders with influence are the key players who make decisions that guide their organization’s future. They persuade others to believe in the ideas they support, and they’re easily able to gain the necessary buy-in and resources to launch ambitious projects.They’re the ones everyone hopes will advocate for their ideas, because when they speak, people listen.
Leverage your influence fully throughout the organization.
Fully leveraging your influence means reaching all key stakeholders. To influence those above you in the hierarchy, you need to have a strong level of confidence. You need to study what they find important and thoroughly understand the vision of the organization. Make their priorities your own.
Learn how to influence the key stakeholders above you.
Look for opportunities to speak one-on-one with them, such as those couple of moments walking down the hall after a meeting. Ask your boss or an advocate for introductions. Always be prepared to connect with them and mention key projects you’ve been working on and their results. Let them know your full value by describing problems you’ve solved and successes your team has achieved together.
Learn how to influence the employees below you.
To cultivate downward influence, radiate a belief in your people’s abilities and give them a certain level of autonomy in their work. Trust their skills and expertise, checking in now and then but not micromanaging. Be the supportive coach they can come to for guidance. Remind them of how their work ties into the company’s vision, so they’ll understand how much they’re contributing.Encourage them to pursue challenging projects and to step outside of their comfort zone at work. Influencing others will happen naturally when you become a trusted mentor, and they’ll be sure to value your feedback and ideas.
Learn how to influence your peers.
Building lateral influence will give you a network of colleagues you can turn to for assistance at any time. Collaborate across functions by pitching in to help people in other departments, seeking their input, and inviting them to take part in high-profile projects. Make sure you help them as much as they help you or more. Network with them outside of work, grabbing lunch or a drink, too. In doing so, you’ll cultivate strong relationships by making them feel valued—and by giving them exciting opportunities, you’ll show you’re someone who gets things done.
Once you’ve grown your influence, people will follow you because they want to, not because they feel they have to. That’s the only way to build true buy-in and commitment to your ideas!
Applying the PVI Model in Your Career
If you’re preparing to start using the PVI model of career advancement, work on growing others’ perception of you first to ensure that others respect you and your work. Then, focus on building your visibility so people know who you are. Finally, you’re ready to expand your influence in all directions through strategies like those described above—meaning you’ve truly become a leader!
You’ll gain a strong competitive advantage by leveraging the PVI model, and that’s when your career will really take off. Others will see you as a leader, whether you’re above or below them in the hierarchy. You’ll be seen as one of the most capable employees in your organization. When executives discuss who to nominate for the next promotion, your name is sure to come up. Your confidence will continue to grow as you successfully influence others at work and pursue ambitious projects. In these ways, the PVI model will help you to soar to the top ranks of your organization, while becoming the kind of leader you’ve always aspired to be.
Contact Joel for executive coaching so you can achieve your next level of success. Advancement is all about perception, visibility, and influence. Begin leveraging the PVI model to launch the next phase of your career.