Becoming influential and compelling at work doesn’t so much have to deal with one’s looks. For instance, when a Steve Balmer or Jack Welch enter a room (neither known for being particularly handsome), their aura quickly makes them the most attractive people in the space.
Once they speak, people realize that it’s not the nice tie they are wearing, nor is it the expensive suit, but rather the quality of their character and raw passion for their profession which makes them compelling and intriguing.
Becoming influential in corporate America means having that something. Among other things, it means being capable of formulating creative solutions to complex problems… it means being able to command respect while simultaneously displaying a warm character.
Now that we have some of the traits of an individual who others would deem interesting in corporate America, let’s further look into the variables that make people win-over co-workers, subordinates and bosses.
You must understand before you can sway judgement
If you want to be able to change people’s opinion of you, you must first understand how human beings will form opinions of others around the office.
Among the first things people learn about you are most likely conclusions drawn from your appearance. People make rapid-fire decisions based upon factors such as your dress, your race, your body posture, hair color, height, weight, age, gender etc. Before you open your mouth, you are stereotyped.
As a general rule, nice and appropriate dress will make you appear more competent to an interviewer, client, fellow employee, etc. Moreover, those who are in-shape will be conceived as stronger and more resilient than individuals who take less care of their bodies.
While it’s not necessary to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on how we look, it is still crucial to make our appearance conducive to others believing that we can efficiently do a job. While we can’t control our current clothing budget, a simple smile can make a very positive difference in our interactions with others. A smile can shape one’s character more than an Armani suit.
In their book, “Compelling People” authors John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut discuss how men and women are perceived by others. They argue that as a culture, we will expect men to be strong and authoritative (sometimes even a bit “cold”). At the office (and in life), men are often rewarded for such behavior.
At work, men who display candor will be more likely to be thought of having leadership acumen than passive males. While bull-dozing and forcing their opinion on others can have devastating consequences, this behavior is accepted to an extent.
On the flip side, for years women who have done the same were punished for their behavior. For years, women who displayed candor would be viewed as less “warm.”
This widely held view made required female workers to be near perfect in their performance. Only in recent years has the workforce embraced women with strength, ambition and insight. Despite it going against best leadership practices, some male employers want to hire females who are more likable via an easy-going attitude.
Getting co-workers to like you more
Around the office, much of your ability to influence rests on whether or not people like you. Regardless of sex, there are certain implementations everyone can incorporate into behavior which will result in more positive interactions.
Among other things, these include:
1. Being a strong listener.
2. Becoming genuinely interested in others.
3. Talking in term’s of other people’s interests.
4. Making people feel important regardless of title.
5. Taking responsibility for mistakes.
In the end
It’s never too late to change into a compelling person around the office. Regardless of age, sex or appearance, we all strive to be regarded in a positive manner by others. To do so takes a comprehensive understanding of ourselves and those around us as well as some basic alterations in our professional approach and demeanor.