I actually had to consult the dictionary to see what influence means. Its been a while since I have had to really break down and define it. actually, I don’t believe I’ve ever had to define influence before. According to the dictionary, influence is “having the power to cause something”, or something like that. When I think of influence, I think of the game Saints row 3. You have to fight to gain influence over rival gangs that have taken over a city. What does Saint’s Row have to do with managing technical people? nothing it’s just something I was thinking about recently. The book however, is talking about Geek leaders not having enough Influence in the workplace. I’m not gonna lie, this is not going to be a very strong subject for me. It’s not something that I really have personal experience with. Upon searching the token “how to —— in the workplace” I first found that the phrase “how to gain influence” brings up mostly game related search results.
In searching for how to gain influence in the workplace I’ve discovered that it basically takes being outgoing, standing up for oneself and not being a total jerk. Allow me to be more specific; build trust, which we talked about before, consistency means reliability, be assertive but don’t be aggressive, be flexible and personal, be a man/ woman of action instead of arguing about thingsand be a listener. I got this list from this article. Again, I feel that this all boils down to “don’t be a jerk” but there is definitely more to it than just that. I found a second article that backs up the list in a few places just for good measure too. most of these are things that would go into having good people skills but that’s right where the problem is. Part of the thing with this class is that we are assuming that geeks lack a great deal in the area of people skills. At least within a certain archetype. So there is the problem. This is why it’s hard for Geeks that enter positions of leadership to be taken seriously by higher ups. We’ve talked about this before. Just about every time I’ve mentioned troublesome clients, I’ve talked about about the client saying “you are the expert” one minute and then acting like they know more than said “expert” in the next minute. The key in these situations is finessing your way through them by walking the client through the situation and guiding them to making good decisions. This is similar to the process of gaining influence it would seem. The main difference is that along with guiding them to making good decisions here, we are also trying to get them to like us. Being able to throw your weight around, without being offensive, being able to listen, and being a trusted, reliable employee are really the big three here I’m thinking. Flexibility is good, but that’s a whole other paper waiting to happen right there. being a person of action is also good, but I feel like that can get bundled with being reliable. Besides you need to be at least a little argumentative. How else are you going to be assertive? You need to be able to speak your mind, but the key is knowing when to do so. That’s the difference between being assertive vs aggressive. Assertive good, aggressive bad.
In conclusion, in order to have influence in the workplace, one must have good, effective people skills like listening, and a fair amount of confidence whilst also being reliable.