As employees and individual contributors become more autonomous in today's working environment, influence without authority has become a hot topic or buzz-phrase. You've been honing your influence your entire career--even before you got your first job, in fact! Here's a secret: your influence will never reach full capacity, which is kind of cool because that means there's always something you can do to grow! Here are 3 ways you can grow your influence...
A person can be influential in their field to benefit the business, but they can also be influential on a personal level--they can inspire and encourage others to affect positive change together in their organizations and communities. Influential people get asked back on projects or teams--that's the primary indicator that you're doing something right. When someone says they love working with you, that's a sign that your influence is on the rise. So what do influential people really do? Here's what we've heard recently...
1. Influential People Listen...
People love feeling heard, and they feel good around those who listen. Being an influential team member means listening and understanding what others forget to say or clarify. When do you get all the requirements in the first workshop? When does the product owner tell you everything right off the bat? Your job is not only to ask the right questions, but to listen, understand, and relay the answers. Sometimes it's hard to remember to shut your mouth and open your ears--we've learned that it's ok to bring a prop to remind us to do just that. Take a sip of water, bring a pen and paper to take notes (have you ever noticed it's hard to write and talk at the same time?)--do what you need to do--and what the speaker needs you to do--to make that other person feel heard.
2. Influential People Adapt
Effective and influential BAs don't rely on their default communication and interaction styles at all times--they're flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of others. When a project sponsor wants details, give them the nitty gritty details; when the marketing coordinator needs a story, share the narrative. When your lead developer needs to meet in person, set up a time to grab coffee (even if you prefer email). The point isn't to do what's easiest for you--it's to do what's easiest for them. Be a chameleon when you have to; the team might not notice or appreciate how much you alter your communication styles to give them what they need right away, but they'll love working with you, and your projects will be that much more successful.
3. Influential People are Anchors
Influential BAs keep the team on task to delivering the best solution for the end user. They don't let the team forget the why of what their doing. Your job as BA is to help the team do what you said you would do, even if it doesn't wind up being done how the team agreed to do it. Priorities shift and change happens, but influential BAs anchor the team and the solution to the true business need and ensure that it's being met to benefit the organization to the best of the team's ability and resources.
What else makes you influential? We want to know what you think! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, find us on LinkedIn, and tell us what you think!
Increase your influence at work even more with our webinar: How to Increase Your Influence at Work