The role of HR has been under scrutiny for some time now. Experts emphasize the importance of shifting HR models from doing the C-suite’s bid to informing and driving strategy while harmonizing the – often opposing needs – of various stakeholder groups. We only need to look at who takes charge when a crisis comes to pass to fully understand how crucial an empowered HR is today. The problem is that very few HR teams can influence business leaders on a practical level, even at times of crisis. Influence, however, cannot be magically conjured; it must be cultivated. Here are a few strategies to consider:
#1 Draw from research
Although some HR leaders may reject this idea due to their already hectic schedules, there are people who have noticed a specific trend in their industry but only managed to make people listen after they have gathered a sizeable volume of case studies which backed their observations. Admittedly, it will take up valuable time; but researching the industry can prove to executive leadership that you do know your beans and will thus be more likely to pay attention to you.
#2 Leverage existing expertise
Gaining authority could also be achieved by drawing from research experts in the field have conducted. Again, this requires a lot of reading and re-training but once you have acquired expert knowledge which you can cite in your interactions with leaders, you will gradually be perceived as an expert, whose word has gravity.
#3 Be proactive
People who wish to expand their circle of influence do not remain stagnant in their interactions with others. Instead, they opt to actively expand their network, anticipating the moment new connections and acquaintances may need to be convinced about something. The truth is that we cannot really have any influence on people we do not know. Thus, chances are they will not be willing to help when the time comes.
#4 Build your social network
Apart from professional networking, forging more personal connections is also of paramount importance when you seek to become more influential. Create opportunities to get to know others on a more personal level; inviting people out for a coffee or a drink is an excellent way to begin. Furthermore, ensure that you create relationships with people across departments. These people may help you cash in on your political capital.
#5 Find a partner in crime
This person will share your qualities and promote your ideas to others. You should not even attempt to promote yourself as this will be construed as bragging. Your wingman is someone you are on the same wave length with and who will help you earn the respect of your peers. Remember, however, to reciprocate and extend the same courtesy if the need arises.