Why personal influence and impact is ultimately more important than technical skills.

personal influence and impact

Why is personal influence and impact important for me and my career?  After all, I’m doing well in my job so far based on the need for my skills.

Irrespective what role you have as an employee, whether as an entry level junior or a senior executive, everyone has the opportunity to positively have personal influence and impact on others through their words, actions, skills and demeanour.

The ability to exert a positive personal influence and impact on others over whom you have no authority plays a key role in career success. It also can have a profound impact on social and team cohesion at work

I’m an expert in my field. Surely that’s enough for me to build a resilient career?

For knowledge intensive jobs or specialists who rely on a specific, but limited set of technology skills or functional expertise, the ability to influence others should not be played down.

The key is to recognise the importance of personal influence then invest the time and effort in developing these skills.

In the real world of workplace ‘politics‘, given that you are functionally and technically proficient, it is your engagement with others that may make all the difference in helping you avoid being seen as a person who may have limited potential to make a valuable contribution outside of your core skill set..

Personal influence and impact and why it’s an important skill to develop

Consider the following hypothetical scenario:  Two managers are discussing what influence their staff may have in a range of situations.

  • “Joe is an excellent engineer, but I’d never put him in front of a customer.”
  • “Anne is our best marketing analyst, and has helped us identify and open up new markets for our products and services, but she just cannot get along with those that dispute her recommendations.”
  • “Fred is a fantastic project manager that thrives under stress and tight deadlines – he’s saved a number of high profile projects – however he’s a real distraction to everyone when situations quieten down.”
  • “Crystal is a really obstinate and hard to get along with at work, however when away from work, she’s a different person – a real pleasure to know”

Can you recognise these, or similar attributes in any of your colleagues at work, or even in yourself?

While you may not be able to control those demands placed on you, what you can control are your responses. At the core of creating a positive influence, lies your ability to deliberately determine your approach and response to demands placed on you by others or the situation at hand.

You have the ability to control your response to situations, and it is how you shape your response that will determine your ability to influence others. Formulate and direct your responses wisely.

The bottom line is that you can take your chances and spin your wheel-of-fortune, by paying little attention to how you respond to others  – or you can substantially improve your odds by pausing briefly before responding, by asking yourself the question:

In what way is the reply or response I am about to give, likely to help me have a positive influence and get to where I want to be?