How to become a person of influence

By Amanda Vinci

To be effective as an Executive Assistant today, you must be able to influence people. Hiding behind your Executive’s title might have worked 5 years ago, but today Executives want their Assistants to be able to influence independently.

So, what’s the best way to position yourself as an influential leader?
How do you motivate colleagues to support your initiatives and adopt your ideas?
How can you become a go-to person that others look to for guidance and expert advice?

Before I give you the how, I need to first address the elephant in the room, you’re not ‘just’ anything. If you have found yourself saying “I’m just an assistant” or “what influence can I possibly have?”

We need an immediately mindset shift before we can continue.

Let me make this crystal clear for you. Anyone who interacts with others is someone who influences others. The way you act and speak, how you manage your feelings, and the way you respond to challenges, will ultimately impact the people around you – even more so as an EA because you’re an extension of your Executive. That means that all interactions you have with other team members sets the tone for your office. If you’re stressed and worried about deadlines, this means your executive is stressed and worried about deadlines.

The question to ask yourself is… Am I choosing how I influence? And am I being intentional about my influence?

So let’s throw that ‘just’ word to the curb and have a look at how you can build your influence within your organisation.

It all comes down to your approach and I find these 3 things are key to building influence:

1. Building Trust
2. Adding Value
3. Engaging

Let’s deep dive on each of those now:

1. Influence by building trust

As we all know, trust needs to be earned, it means ‘doing what you say’ and walking the talk. To have influence, the people around you must feel as though they can trust what you say and that you will follow through on your word.
It also means building rapport. Do you take the time to get to know people (not just people you need to know)? Demonstrating that you understand and support those around you can go a long way to instilling trust in you as a leader and influencer.

2. Influence by adding value

Adding value means providing support and expertise beyond your job description. This may mean that you go above and beyond to help someone or take on a special project. Adding value to not just your Exec but to the organisation spreads your sphere of influence further into the business across various teams and functions.

3. Influence by engaging

Engagement can be achieved by speaking up and making your voice heard across the business… after-all, how can you be influential if you don’t share your valuable insights and opinions?
Do you engage and ask questions during meetings? Do you meet with people from different departments to learn about their role and area? These are subtle ways you can achieve influence.

EAs are powerful people, they can hold significant influence and the benefits of harnessing this fact are considerable from faster recognition of your work to improving team cohesion.

So, what can you do this month to be an EA with influence?

Growth Hub Members

Join us Wednesday June 29th at 12:30AEDT for a breakout session with Amanda to discuss this topic! RSVP below, see you there!

 

 

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