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7 Tips to Influence and Inspire in the Workplace

Patrick Nelson, September 6, 2016


Leadership happens in moments. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can positively influence others:

  • A warm smile or “hello” in the hallway
  • Telling someone their project work was exceptional
  • Giving someone your complete attention as they share a story

In just a few seconds, we can energize someone and make them feel connected and valued. This feeling can lift someone’s spirits in an instant.

For many of us, we can lose awareness on how meaningful these moments can be. When we’re not mindful of our own behaviors, we can demonstrate actions that neither influence nor inspire. At our worst, we can drain the energy of those around us by engaging in any of the following:

  • Complaining about work to whomever will listen
  • Disparaging our colleagues openly
  • Bashing a new process the organization has adopted (without offering a solution)
  • Being distracted and not really listening to others
  • Not showing up to meetings prepared to engage

People who demonstrate these behaviors aren’t bad people. In my opinion, they’ve just fallen into patterns that aren’t helping themselves. What’s more, they’re stealing the energy from the people at work who show up wanting to do well at their job and are committed to learning, growing and developing.

It might be hard to combat every energy-drainer you come in contact with; it’s my belief that the best action any leader can take is to model the behavior we expect others to demonstrate.

Here are 7 tips to influence and inspire in the workplace:

  1. Lead from the Front. Pitch in on those annoying yet necessary tasks; everyone loves to see their leaders getting their hands dirty.
  2. Promote a healthy work/life balance. Encourage people to ignore their email for a weekend and spend time with their family.
  3. Show up prepared. Get enough sleep so you’re not stumbling through your workday.
  4. Be friendly. Show interest in others by actively listening to them; ask them about their weekend, their vacation, etc.
  5. Recognize hard work. Be creative! Give prizes away, make certificates, buy lunch, etc.
  6. Team Building. Hold a team building exercise during normal work hours. We’ve had many clients who organized a charitable event in the spirit of team building. Team building is only limited by your imagination.
  7. Encourage people to get up. Most people are sitting down for a large portion of the day; encourage them to stand up and take a 10-minute walk – you can also introduce a walking meeting into your culture.

Being a leader is a choice. Any of these tips can be implemented today – go ahead, get leading! You’re never more than seconds away from positively influencing others.

Want to learn more about influencing and inspiring others? Sign up for a free copy of Lead Star’s newest book, “SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success.”

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