What do you want to achieve today? Or this week? Or by the end of your current project? Whatever the timescale of your ambition, are your goals clear to yourself and those around you?
The chances are that, whatever it is you are working towards, you’ll need the backing of others to achieve it. At work, and in other areas of our lives too, we often need to influence others in order to get them on board with our ideas.
But there is a fine line between effective, positive influencing and cynical manipulation of others for your own ends. How do you know where one starts and other ends?
The difference lies in our motivation for seeking support. Effective influencers engender trust in others by being open about their motivation. They are clear about what it is they are trying to achieve, and why. They are seen as authentic because they have consistent values, respect for others and offer fair exchange for mutual benefit.
However tempting it might sometimes be to show up a colleague, or to win the argument for its own sake, these are not great reasons to try to exert influence. Such action is likely to damage our relationships and reputation in the long term.
If we allow personal feelings and hidden agendas to affect our behaviour at work, we risk loosing our right to influence others. We may win the argument today, but, whatever game we are in, we are unlikely to be a successful player in the long run.