Here’s a question for you:
In a world of work full of billions of capable, confident people, why would people want to work with you?
Ooh. …Uhh…. [insert awkward face here]
We get a lot of reactions like that when we ask this question. For many of us it’s big and overwhelming and even kind of confronting. A typical response is to play the question straight back. ‘Well, why would you want to work with me?’
But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be difficult – we can all change the conversation. In fact, we think it’s one of the most positive questions we can ask ourselves.
Things that don’t require a particular technical skill – a position of authority – or permission from anyone else – to help create momentum in a team and make a difference.
How can you be the one others look to because they know good things happen when you get involved? Not because it’s about you, but because the way you work with others helps to move things forward in positive ways.
We looked at four areas where we can amp up our impact at work – among our team, with clients, in our markets and communities, and in broader society:
With your team –
This is about knowing what matters and being available to others – your leader, team, peers – for these priorities. It’s how you get things done and move forward. It means actual time spent with your team regularly working through the things that matter to keep pace and momentum. Most importantly, it’s about being present – actively listening, and giving your full attention to the matter at hand. Our guide to Personal Accessibility for Leaders walks through super practical advice on how to do this.
Be generous and honest in your communication.
This is a baseline for trust. When you have trust, and your communication is open and available, things really start humming. In fact, it’s one of the core values of mwah.’s way of working – telling each other everything we need to know, in a way that is generously looking for understanding, while in equal measure seeking to understand. Give feedback that makes a difference – about what’s great and what’s not. Be the person who takes time to support.
And for leaders – look at your impact on the careers and lives of others.
Remember that leadership is all about the opportunity to have a positive impact on others – allowing and enabling flexibility, coaching for success, providing stretch opportunities, and guiding people through the high profile assignments. Look at the people you’ve led. Are they confidently contributing and going on to do great things – maybe even better things than you? If the answer is yes, high five for doing a great job, keep doing what you’re doing! If you’re not sure, reflect on what you can do to create an environment where people thrive. (One way to start might be with the two points above.)
With clients –
Knock their socks off by running a really effective meeting.
Let’s be honest: hands up who actually loves going to meetings? Almost no one. Surprisingly (or not ? ) studies show a whopping 91% of meeting participants daydream*. Whaaat? So whether we’re leading the meeting or we’ve shown up to participate, chances are we often don’t get enough bang for our meeting buck. Fortunately, there’s a flip side! One of the absolute best and simplest ways to make a great impact with clients – and something they’ll really remember you for – is to run a gobsmackingly good meeting. At mwah. we’ve turned the tables on running meetings and built a super simple way to do it. Check out our guide to running great meetings. With a subscription you can access our meeting planner and template.
Look closer at relationships.
When it comes to working together really well, relationships are everything. Full stop. So, just when you think you know your client really well, look deeper. Is there another point of connection you can find with them? Something others may not think to look for, and that will differentiate you, in their eyes, from someone else. Leadership expert Dr Henry Cloud says ‘We trust people who we know understand us, our context, our situation, our needs, and what makes it work for us.’** When we tap into what makes a person feel understood, that they belong – that we ‘get’ them – we can work together in much deeper, more open ways.
Use all of your potential resources.
Listen really, really well, and use everything your client says as a potential opportunity to build the relationship and how you can add value for them. Maybe they need particular expert knowledge on a topic that you don’t have but you know who does, or an introduction to someone in your network, or even something as simple as a recommendation for a great place to eat next time they’re in A, B or C. Look inside your network and think of what you could do differently to add an extra sizzle to your client’s experience of you.
In the market and community –
Balance out your network.
We all have a network – no matter how early into a career. In fact, thanks to social media millennials probably have the biggest networks of anyone! They can be heavily stacked towards work colleagues, or early in a career towards friendship groups. Both are awesome. A balanced network is even better. In her book Glow, Lynda Gratton*** talks about the value of looking at familiarity and differences in your network to help you build breadth and depth. Take the time to really consider your network and look for gaps that you can build on. Having a mixture of tight (very familiar) and loose (lighter touch) connections can be a powerful way to bring fresh perspectives to your world and broaden your view outside of where you work. A super simple way to start is to plot out your network as it is now – and where you want it to grow – so you can planfully build it out.
In society –
Get inside the ways your organisation impacts society.
We get that this is powerful stuff – most humans genuinely care that their organisation is part of creating a better society – but is this something you could do differently, or more deliberately, to build your impact? Do you know the causes or social impact organisations your company supports? Do you know why they’ve been chosen and how they bring the company’s values, vision and mission to bear? Could this be a powerful point of connection and growth for you?
Swot up on the issues that are important to you.
The more deeply you know about the things that your organisation stands for, the more effectively you can talk about it them in a compelling way – with your teams, your clients, in the market, in broader society – and help to amplify how your organisation is helping to bring about change.
This is always the best way to walk the talk! Seek out ways to get involved in your organisation’s social impact activities and spend time with your team giving something back. This kind of stuff shows on the outside – people will notice. If there are no programs or partnerships internally but it’s really important to you, find ways to contribute externally – and perhaps even build a case to pioneer social impact in your organisation.
Here are some links to information that will help you build your impact in really positive ways. Enjoy, and we’d love to hear how you go. [email protected]
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Article written by Rosie Cartwright