Leading from the Lower Ranks
There’s several situations where you might find yourself in what some would consider lower or mid- levels of influence.
- You’ve recently entered the world of work
- You’ve changed jobs and had to settle for a downward move
- You’re starting a new career and essentially starting over
Whatever the situation, you might be wondering how you can lead from what would be considered a “lower level”. Regardless of position, you can have influence in your new situation. There are several ways to increase your amount of influence.
Speak Your Mind
Let others know what you think – your coworkers, your boss, . I used to avoid letting people know what I thought unless they asked. You really owe it to yourself and others around you to engage in the discussions at work. If you are invited to a meeting, that in itself is an invitation to speak your mind. You have been given permission by the invitation, so speak up and make your presence known.
You obviously want to use wisdom and provide relevant ideas and constructive critiques; however, do not just remain silent. Even if your ideas are not heeded, you can begin to have influence on those around you.
This is especially important when others are being negative or divisive. I used to work for a leader who would say that when people act like this, your silence can very well be interpreted as acquiescence (at least) or agreement (at worst). Therefore, I’ve made it a goal to redirect conversations that could be viewed in a contentious or dissident, or challenge the person who is steering a discussion in a negative direction.
As you seek to influence others, one of the best ways is to serve them. Everyone usually has much to do and is overwhelmed by their workload and all that they have to accomplish. Take a few minutes a week and check in with your team mates. How can you help them? What can you do to support them from your position?
This builds a huge amount of trust with those you work with and those you work for will take notice. Most people serve one person – themselves. You will stand out by being different and willing to serve. Influencers are people who serve others.
Wherever I go and wherever I find myself, I seek to make connections with people and build rapport. It doesn’t take long. Show an interest in them and in who they are (not just what they have to offer at their job). Ask questions about them – their personal life (family), interests, what they like to do when not at work. Again, it’s easy to do, but most people are so consumed with their own world, that they rarely take time to establish connections with others.
Connections help establish influence and a right to speak into someone else’s life. Without the connection (especially from a co-worker) you may appear to be bossy or intrusive. Having that connection allows you to increase your influence in those around you, so that you may give helpful wisdom when the time arises.
How do lead from the lower ranks? How do you gain influence among your coworkers? Let me know in the comments below!
Photo courtesy Bigstockphoto.com/46662517