“Exercise your Influence!”

by Lakecia Carter, PMP

Of all the challenges PM face today, I believe one of the greatest is influence. Primarily, influence without authority. Unfortunately, many people view us as facilitators or moderators, checking the list and marking tasks complete. While these are very important aspects of a PM’s job, it is not what should define our value. Part of the issue is how we see ourselves. Many of us do not realize the influence that we have. It can be powerful or painful, but it’s up to you. The truth is, we have the influence, but it’s no good if we never exercise it. Here are 3 concepts to warm you up:

Understand Position vs Power

A true leader doesn’t need to announce or justify his or her position.  Clarifying roles and responsibilities is essential when you initiate a project. Position is important, but influence is a silent force that is more powerful than position. You aren’t just an agent of change, you are the change.

Know When to Work It

You need to know who, when and where you can influence. If it is beyond your reach, you can connect with other influencers to get things done. Check your motives and make sure you aren’t only seeking allies. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t breaking through – it may not be the place of influence for you.

Have the Right Attitude

Focus on the outcomes, not the credit. This one is difficult for me because I love getting credit. However, I’ve learned that the credit is earned by way of influence, whether it is acknowledged or not.  It is ok to be zealous and passionate for results, but it must be tempered with humility.

You may not think you have influence without authority, but that is far from reality. Influence can be powerful if you exercise it in a positive way. What are some ways you can exercise your influence to make a difference going forward?

If you found these tips from Lakecia Carter, PMP of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.

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