Influence: The Workplace Success Secret Weapon For Women

By: Ericka Spradley

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You have influence, but the question is: How are you using it to positively impact the trajectory of your career? While skimming a Harvard Business Review article by Rebecca Knight, I noticed she mentioned an unspoken truth:

To be effective in organizations today, you must be able to influence people. Your title alone isn’t always enough to sway others.

Although your level of influence relies heavily on your approach, proven results, and reputation, the article goes on to suggest the following success strategies for women:

  • Listen before you persuade.
  • Map a strategy.
  • Get people what they want.

In addition to the aforementioned suggestions in Rebecca’s article, if you haven’t assessed “how you show up,” there’s no better time than the present. Whether it’s a personal assessment or soliciting feedback from others, you need insight regarding how you affect someone or something which directly correlates to how influential you are or are not as a woman in today’s workforce.

Consider these tips when expanding your influence.

[Related: The Real Reason Women Experience Self-Doubt at Work]

1) Harness your projection of power.

Pause when you speak, maintain good posture, and don’t over-explain yourself. Speak succinctly.

2) Get better at connecting with others and relationship-building.

Career advancement depends on relationships, collaborating, and seeking strategic advice. What value do you create as an influential expert in the workplace that helps others achieve their goals? Think win-win, because the focus can’t consistently be about you.

3) Change your language.

Communicate confidence in your decision-making ability by using “I will” instead of “I think I will.”

4) Own the space.

Whether it’s a boardroom or a cubicle, say to yourself: “This is my room. This is my table. This is my audience.”

When I created my free course “Ditch the Downplay,” it was because I understand that while women have no problem doing the work (meeting performance expectations), we unfortunately have an invisible struggle that hinders us professionally, which includes the fact that we:

  • Aren’t socialized to own our strengths.
  • Play small as it relates to our expertise.
  • Unfortunately self-sabotage our career success in certain instances.

[Related: The Subtle Ways Women Play Small at Work]

5) Executive presence.

Gauge the impressions you make and how you affect the people around you. Project an action-oriented aura; instead of saying “I was wondering,” consider “My plan is_____.”

Your strategy should include an understanding of who you influence, as well as who you’ve yet to influence. Remember, influence can and should include leverage. Is there someone you need to partner with as it relates to a colleague you have yet to influence?

6) Think bigger and aim higher.

Raise your hand. Take on tasks or projects that are completely outside your comfort zone.

7) Create brand bites.

These are themes that describe you, such as “I love to try new things,” or said differently, “I take calculated risks.”

If you’re still not convinced influence is an asset, digest Dorie Clark’s perspective in closing:

You get more done; you advance the projects you care about and are responsible for, which means you’re more likely to be noticed, get promoted, and receive raises.

[Related: You Want to Be Taken Seriously in Meetings? Work on Your Executive Presence]

Ericka Spradley is the Chief PowHer Officer/Founder of Confident Career Woman, which is the premier consulting firm for corporations and the mid-career professional woman who wants to advance, better manage her career, and go further faster. She is an advocate who partners with clients to help women ditch perfection, play bigger, and make PowHer Moves by: identifying their next role, creating a career strategy, offering ongoing career guidance, and coaching clients to master interviews. For additional information, visit:

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