New Job? Establishing Your Influence

Fantastic, you’ve got a new job!

Now, quick as you can, you need to establish your influence.

Unless you can be influential from the start, there is a risk you may have to recover and gradually build it later. The best time to make a great impression is right now as you start moving in the new job. Influential people don’t just arrive ― they make it happen.

When I am coaching someone in this position, these are the typical areas I will challenge them on…

1. Who are the powerful individuals around your new job?

This can be focused on the team you are joining or in the wider organisation. If you want to be really influential, you will need to be able to focus on the wider community of stakeholders. No, you probably cannot answer this question immediately, but you have to pursue the answers quickly and without looking an idiot by asking this question of everyone in sight!

2. What makes these people powerful?

Learning to tune into the currencies of power in a group or organisation is vital. What it does is tell you what skills, assets and tactics have the greatest influence. Strong warning here ― the sources of power you enjoyed in your last position may not work for you in the new job. You have to open your eyes and see how things work in the new place.

3. What are the major challenges currently impacting the group you are joining?

Answers to this will help you to focus on what people are paying the most attention to. There is little point in being the world’s greatest expert in something that nobody is interested in. If you want to maximise your influence, find ways of adding value to the powerful people in the group you are joining. Solving their problems and helping them overcome their challenges is a great way of getting into the inner-circle.

4. How are you different from the people around your new job?

Should you fit in or stand out? We know from social psychology that, irrespective of position, new members to a group are scrutinised and socialised. If you stand out too much or too early, gaining acceptance by the group is going to be difficult. Without acceptance you will struggle to influence. Make sure you take some early strategic decisions about how you are going to play this one.

5. What impression do you want to create?

Yes, good old personal branding ― but it remains something you need to make decisions about. If you don’t, you are bound to make a less powerful impression. This doesn’t mean pretending to be something you are not. Instead, it is about focusing attention on elements of you and your capability, which will maximise your potential to influence. Linking it to your answers to the previous questions will help you to make a dramatic entrance.

Coming up with answers to these challenging questions is only part of the route to influence ― you’ve still got to execute it. There are lots more questions you will need to ask and answer along the way, but if you can start by answering the questions above, you will have a much better chance of becoming influential in your new job.

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Originally published on the Influence Blog as New Job? Quickly Learn How to Be Influential.

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