career growth

career growth

A six-minute read from Kaihan Krippendorff on how to be more influential at work. 

Whether you’re trying to get your dream job, convince your boss to give you more responsibility, get your colleagues excited about your idea, get neighbors to vote for your proposal, or simply persuade family members to consider somewhere new for vacation, your influencing skills are key. We all know this. And yet, few of us do it well because we fail to exercise the full breadth of influencing skills at our disposal.

Like a soccer player who learns only to kick with one foot or a boxer who masters just a couple of punches, we often fail to influence others because we return to the same limited set of strategies, over and over again. Usually, we prefer an influencing approach that works on us. The problem with this approach, of course, is that what works on us may not work on others.

Research shows that successful influencers don’t feel frustrated when it comes to the political-influencing game. In fact, they see it as an exciting opportunity. These adept influencers apply a wider variety of tactics to help persuade their leadership and organization to adopt their products, projects, and ideas. Sharpening your ability to influence allows you to choose from a toolbox of skills and select the right one to use at the right time.

 

Key points include:

  • Which tactics do I use often?
  • Which do I use rarely?
  • Which am I uncomfortable using?

 

Read the full article, Use these tactics to be more influential at work, on FastCompany.com.

Jeremy Greenberg shares an article published on Entrepreneur.com that offers three ways we can improve our performance through self-monitoring. 

Tens of millions of us — two thirds of all American full-time workers — are now working from home. This often means we’ve had little direct supervision or oversight in months, away from our colleagues’ (and our boss’s) watchful eye.

That may feel nice… but data shows that we perform better when we know we’re being observed. For example, in a study of 40,000 Virgin Atlantic flights conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, one group of captains was told that their fuel performance was being monitored, and the other group was not. The captains who knew they were being observed had better fuel efficiency throughout takeoff, flight, and landing. The principle that direct observation improves work performance is commonly known as the “Hawthorne effect.”

I’ve thought a lot about this lately, because I developed a podcast called Follow the Leader. I recorded a CEO during a pivotal moment in his business, and he later told me that the direct observation helped him focus. “I was more reflective and poised than I would have been having done this on my own,” said the CEO, Taymur Ahmad, of the company Actnano. Interesting! So how can we all gain that benefit, even if we don’t have a boss (or podcaster) watching?

Here are three ways.

  1. Add self-observation to your routine

If nobody’s watching us, then we need to watch ourselves. We can’t let life and work become a blur, with each day blending into the next. To improve productivity and reduce stress, grab a notebook and start taking notes on what you’re doing, how it’s going, and how you’re feeling.

Don’t know where to start? Make a list of your main goals before each week, and then track what is accomplished by the end. This practice is beneficial in several ways. It helps reduce the pressure we put on ourselves by demonstrating that we did more than we probably thought. Because we’re able to look back on our work, we can identify what is working well and what is not. We can also identify problems, such as spending too much time on low-priority items or overemphasizing our perceived failures.

 

Key points include:

  • Identifying goals
  • Establishing accountability partners
  • Going public

 

Read the full article, You Work Better When You’re Being Watched. Here’s How To Monitor Yourself, on AveGroup.com.

Kathryn Valentine shares an article published in Fast Company that offers an original approach to preventing burnout and includes tips on how to do it. 

As the working mom of a 2- and 4-year old, I have felt it.  This pandemic is exhausting and seems to just. Keep. Dragging. On. 

I’m not the only one. A report released by McKinsey and LeanIn.org shows that one in three women are considering leaving the workforce or significantly downshifting. Research by the National Women’s Law Center shows that over 4.2 million women have left the workforce since the beginning of the pandemic.  

In my interviews with HR professionals, it seems that the vast majority of women leaving the workforce are doing so without asking for what they need to stay and thrive. Since it costs companies up to twice as much to replace an employee rather than retain them, this is not in the best interest of the company. It’s also, likely, not in the long-term financial interest of the woman. Fidelity’s research shows that leaving the workforce—even for just a year—can set women back more than twice their annual salary due to forgone benefits and future pay growth.

There is plenty the government, and our companies, can do, but what can we do? Not only to stay in the workforce but to truly thrive?

Ask for what you need. Research shows that women not only negotiate for access to roles but also for “the extra support to succeed in them.” But how do you do this? 

Based on seven years of research in the field, here are my top tips for successful negotiation.

 

Key points include:

  • Thinking big and broad
  • Negotiating collaboratively
  • Additional support

Read the full article, Want to prevent burnout? Try negotiating, on Fast Company.

Anubhav Raina shares a series that presents a model for understanding how influencing works and how you can train yourself to excel at it. It combines his personal observations with the latest research in influencing.

Note this is a three-part series:

  1. Intro (this article)
  2. CIF — Core Influence Framework
  3. Building Trust
  4. Convincing people

Appendices

  1. Using effective questioning
  2. Expanding the size of the pie
  3. Negotiation: sweetening the deal
  4. Using biases to your advantage
  5. Negotiation: When to walk away

Being able to influence someone on a key issue is the single greatest superpower you can have.

From convincing a client or boss to try out your idea, to being able to guide your family into seeing things your way.

Humans are influencing each other ALL the time, and similar to other activities –influencing is a skillset. In fact, it is one of the most useful skillsets you can learn.

Like many other behaviors, influencing too has a large evolutionary basis. We can use this knowledge to develop a gameplan for many situations that require influencing.

Building upon the work done in evolutionary sciences, psychology and management thinking, this short series sets a repeatable framework for building trust and convincing that will help you face each interaction with a solid plan of action!

How it started

I still remember the moment. I was 23 and had just found out what my division head’s year-end bonus was — a sum almost 10x my own bonus.

No one was surprised. It was expected and natural. I was told the discrepancy existed because the boss had “put in the time”, or “had taken more risk”, or “was rewarded for his expertise”, along with a number of other reasons.

But the question never stopped nagging me — what possible value-add could be worth 10x more than my own work?

Many people in my company seemed to have expertise and experience on their side. BUT they weren’t making the same money as my division head.

Could the division boss really be that much more effective at his job?

It took years (and more than a few grey hairs) of observing C-level clients, senior partners at prestigious banks, consultancies & law firms to finally figure out that the answer had to do with one thing alone — being able to influence others.

Let’s explore this thought in greater detail.

Key points include:

  • Core influence framework
  • Expanding the size of the pie
  • Using biases to your advantage

 

Access the full series, Influencing others: The greatest superpower you’ll ever need, on Medium. 

Self-doubt can stop the best talent from moving forward, but for all those who struggle with a negative voice, Rahul Bhargava provides practical steps that can be taken to deal with doubt.

We all have experienced self-doubts, especially when it came to undertaking significant life decisions. Whether it is the selection of a career or prospects of a current job, we all have been there.

There is that voice ringing in your head that constantly says that you cannot do it. But the remedy to that pessimistic voice is acting to the contrary and doing what you desire. Acting and getting your ambitions fulfilled is how you silent them forever. They are a part of our experiences as we grow up.

What causes you to doubt yourself?

The lack of confidence and the air of uncertainty gives space for doubts. There are things around us that we cannot control which often cultivates reasons for concern and anxiety. I will share my example here

I have always strived to be perfect at everything, like becoming the best artist, the meritorious student, the perfect wife, and so on. However, I never took a pause and thought, what is the definition of perfection?

For a long time, I was trapped in the self-doubt prison of my creation. Humans were not born to be perfect, we were born to be real, and to have emotions, to make mistakes and learn from them. The attribute of perfection belongs only to our creator.

Sometimes we fixate on a certain outcome which creates an immense level of fear.

 

Key points include:

  • A healthy amount of self doubt
  • Psychological means to justify behavior
  • When self-doubt becomes depression

Read the full article, How To Believe In Yourself And Eliminate Self-Doubt, on PurpleCrest.co.

 

Paul Millerd shares an article that comments on a capitalist system that has revived Calvinist attitudes towards those who may be less financially fortunate.

One thing I absorbed from the culture I grew up in was that someone who didn’t make a lot of money or that spent their time at something deemed a “low-skill” job was of questionable character. There were always carve outs for people you might become acquainted with, but generally people that had more money were better people.

If you only could understand one thing about American culture it’s that money is the most important thing. We say all sorts of other things about what matters but when it comes down to it the fastest way to get respect and admiration is to be rich. Our reaction to an infectious disease was to deliver four rounds of financial stimulus to the economy. Our biggest celebrities are now billionaires getting divorces rather than movie stars getting divorces.

People have a lot of feelings about money and I’ve written about how money is often just a placeholder for deeper anxieties about life. It seems people will amass millions of dollars before they try to stare the feelings that make them stressed in the face. Many people seem to get the money but never satisfy the worry. A successful real estate investor still worries about being poor1:

‘If somebody tries to screw me over, I think back to all the people who screwed my father out of money, and I react very viscerally to it because I am afraid of being poor still.’

 

Key points include:

  • The hidden force of work: shame
  • Guilt vs. Shame
  • Who has the wheel?

 

Read the full newsletter, Money, Guilt, Shame & What Matters, on Boundless.com.

 

 

Priyanka Ghosh shares an always valuable reminder on the importance of minding your assumptions and making sure others are reminded of your value.

Early in my career at a top Management Consulting Firm in New York my Senior Manager had asked me a question…”what is your brand, Priyanka”….that question had left me stumped! a) I had no idea what he was talking about; b) I always thought that when you do good work you get noticed for your work.  The idea of managing your image and shaping a perception had never crossed my mind.

Through that experience I had learnt a valuable lesson…don’t assume anything.  Don’t assume that your manager, your colleagues or the people who report to you know the good work that you are doing.  Like politicians, one has to learn to manage not only one’s career but also manage perceptions and create an image of how you would like to be perceived by others.

Lesson No. 1: What matters is not so much what you do or have done, but what other people think you have accomplished.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean to say that you should ‘sound’ more than you ‘do’….but it is important to articulate what you have done.  Otherwise, people do have short-term memories and they tend to forget.  Which means that you need to manage your image as well as your real job.

Lesson No. 2: Don’t assume that people know what you are working on; take every opportunity to educate others.  Making sure that you share the right and credible information can be a powerful tool in shaping your profile in the workplace.

 

Key points include:

  • Managing expectations
  • Managing perceptions
  • The elevator speech

 

Read the full article, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.…” on promelier.co.uk.