In order to succeed and advance in the workplace, you need to increase your impact. Workplace impact refers to how much influence you have in your career. No matter what job you work in, having an impact is important.
If you do not have an impact at work, your managers are much more likely to pick other employees to promote. Having a minimal impact also increases your chances of being bored at work. The more involved you become at work, the greater your chances of increasing your impact.
A common misconception regarding workplace influence is the only way you can expand your influence is through time. It is true the longer you are with a company the more likely you are to make an impact, but there are many steps you can take to increase your workplace presence. Some careers require specific skills or techniques to make an impact, but you can increase your workplace impact for most jobs in 2024 by using the following techniques.
Learn How to Build Connections
If you want to have any impact at work, you need to be connected to your coworkers. One mistake employees make is only trying to make connections with upper management. Managers may have more influence than your other coworkers, but managers do not value employees who ignore everyone else. Managers quickly see through this behavior and whatever connection you built is damaged by your manager doubting your intentions.
An easy way to develop connections with your coworkers is learning how to listen. When you listen to employees, you form a bond with them while learning new information. If you are the person your coworkers feel comfortable speaking with, you become more important at work. Managers notice when employees feel comfortable around their coworkers. These workers are more likely to get additional responsibility since they work well with everyone else.
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Another reason listening matters so much is employees are more likely to return the favor when you have a history of listening to them. The next time you need help with a project, turn to one of the coworkers you listened to in the past. Listening to coworkers is also a great way to learn more about their capabilities. One positive way to make an impact at work is to recommend employees for certain tasks or positions based on their talents. This shows a great deal of initiative to managers, and it makes employees feel appreciated when their strengths are pointed out. Again, these employees are also more likely to return the favor in the future, highlighting your strengths or recommending you for additional responsibilities based on your talents.
Learn How to Strengthen Your Workplace Presence
How you present yourself at work plays a large part in your workplace impact, especially if you are new to the company. Workplace presence refers to several different categories, including:
- How you carry yourself at work.
- The outfits you wear to work.
- The way you speak to coworkers and clients.
Employees with the most impact at work have positive energy. If you constantly get frustrated or upset, employees are more likely to avoid you, decreasing your impact. During meetings, pay attention to whoever is speaking to appear engaged. If you have the opportunity, ask questions and become involved in conversations to show you are interested and not just there because it was required.
In terms of how you dress, pick an attire appropriate to your job. For the majority of jobs, you want to display a professional image. Prioritize stylish, clean, well-tailored items. Some jobs have a more relaxed dress code. While this does allow for more freedom, you do not want to damage your workplace impact by dressing down too much. Try to wear something to set you apart without sacrificing your professionalism. For example, you can style your outfits around a certain color scheme or always wear a specific accessory.
Learn to Be Willing to Disagree
Some employees mistake workplace popularity with impact. These employees are afraid to speak their minds and instead agree with everything they are told. Employees with the most impact are willing to speak their minds when necessary, which sometimes means disagreeing with coworkers. What matters most is how you handle yourself during a disagreement. Disagreeing with a coworker does not mean getting into a fight with them. You do not want to be too stubborn or argumentative when you make your point, otherwise, you come off as hostile. Explain your point in a clear and concise fashion, backing up your stances with facts whenever possible.
When you disagree with an employee, make sure it is over an issue you genuinely believe. Do not make the mistake of becoming a contrarian as a way to stand out. This may create more impact at first, but it hurts your overall reputation and makes it seem like you have trouble getting along with your coworkers.
Understand When to Step Up
The best way to make an impact at work is to step up and take a leadership opportunity whenever possible. Employees with the most impact are the ones who go above and beyond on a project. Your impact grows further if you create new opportunities for your company, such as reaching out to new clients or proposing new projects. If there is an opportunity to take on additional responsibility, volunteer your services.
Stepping up is important, but you must only step up when you know you can handle the extra responsibility. Do not volunteer for something solely because you want more impact at work. If you are unable to complete the task, you lose whatever impact you could have gained, and even worse, you risk being passed over for future responsibilities.
Learn to Become an Expert
If you want to make the biggest impact at work, your best opportunity is to specialize in a particular role or service. Becoming an expert does not happen overnight. In many cases, you need to take classes before you become an expert. However, getting additional training or certification is an excellent way to stand out, especially if you focus on something nobody else at work is able to do. If you can fill critical roles, such as taking a web development class if your company lacks an IT department, you make an even bigger impact.
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