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  • How to Become More Influential Around the Office

    Leader photo from ShutterstockHave you ever noticed that well-respected and influential people around the office walk an emotional and behavioral tightrope?

    Seemingly effortlessly, they exercise the ability to be accommodating when necessary, yet strong and assertive when it counts.

    Since they operate in accordance with a given situation, these individuals are more likely to obtain the status, pay, title and clients they desire.

    Luckily, you can learn how to operate in a similar fashion.

    By implementing some easy tricks and gaining a basic understanding of how people react to someone’s perceived strength and warmth, you can become just as influential. Our recruiting company will show you how.

    Understanding Strength and Confidence

    Sadly, in Corporate America, arrogance and ego will often get someone further than intelligence and capability will. All things being equal, people perceive dominant leaders to be more credible than their submissive counterparts.

    Often, regardless of the validity of their statements, people who project a sense of strength and confidence naturally command others’ attention in a more effective manner.

    Co-workers and subordinates are much more likely to show respect for and follow individuals who project a sense of self-assuredness.

    In some organizations, management will outright devalue opinions that are not accompanied by a tone of self-importance and superiority.

    Why does the nice guy or gal tend to finish last?

    When people perceive others to be weak, they are less concerned with their needs because they equate weakness with inefficiency. Moreover, they tend to become more readily frustrated by their actions, frequently preventing the nice guy or gal from having a voice.

    For this reason, bosses who are “too nice” historically fail to grab the attention of their subordinates and often feel taken advantage of.

    It also explains why overly accommodating employees will tend to be considered far less frequently for management and leadership roles.

    Simple Tricks to Make You Appear Stronger and More Assertive at Work

    There are several factors your co-workers use to interpret how confident you are in yourself. These include your tone of voice, the facial expressions you make, your posture, your body gestures as well as the actual words you use.

    Nonverbally, if you wish to appear more confident, there are a few simple tricks:

    1. Correct your posture. Standing tall projects confidence and portrays a sense of power, alertness and capability to others. Psychological studies have shown that job seekers who sit up straight appear much more engaging, persuasive and compelling to hiring managers.

    Take up more space in the room. In general, strong people make themselves at home anywhere, occupy a lot of space, and move freely rather than getting locked in one place.

    Sitting with a straight spine and relaxed chest will increase testosterone and estrogen levels while reducing cortisol intake.

    2. Add a stride to your step. A common way to appear more confident to others is simply to put a small stride in your step. By walking with a level head, open chest and long strides, you will naturally appear more confident, in-control and poised when moving around the office.

    3. Slightly alter the manner in which you gesture. How you move your hands and arms when you talk will influence the way others think about you.

    Unknowingly, the human eye equates people who speak with their hands and elbows further away from their torso as self-assured and trustworthy. Additionally, individuals who either curl their fingers in a fist or straighten them flat out when they talk will convey a sense of self-worth to the other person(s) in the room.

    Conversely, clasping your hands in front of you and / or keeping your elbows pressed to your sides will make you appear cold or anxious.

    In the End

    Understand that strength alone does not cut it. While it commands attention, it often can make a person appear to be emotionally distant and, thus undermines their ability to lead due to a lack of connection with those around them.

    Balance out your strength with warmth by displaying a more upbeat, positive attitude. Never underestimate the power of a smile. Smiling accomplishes four powerful things: it conveys confidence, happiness, enthusiasm and acceptance.

    Around the office, enthusiasm becomes contagious. Nobody wants to learn from a moody, pessimistic, pissed-off manager. Rather, employees more readily devote their attention, loyalty and time to superiors who display optimistic viewpoints.

    Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement Sales and Marketing Recruiters, a sales and marketing recruiting firm specializing in staffing business development and marketing professionals around the U.S. Ken has been published in Forbes, Chicago Tribune, AOL, Business Insider, Ere.net, Recruiter.com, Huffington Post and many others. He has also appeared on MTV, Fox Business News and spoken at some of the country's leading business schools on HR, job search and recruitment.

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