Influence is an attribute that can be developed once you know the formula. Knowing how to be influential in your daily pursuits can be the difference between a value-added experience for the auditee and just another audit.
We all know at least one auditor of great influence and watch as they command an audit outcome, network event, or technical committee. They may not have the highest competence, the most experience, or the greatest technical skills, yet colleagues choose to listen, follow, and accept the advice or arguments voiced by these individuals.
This influence comes from within the individual and it is a series of traits that they have developed or learned to intuitively master. The traits I am speaking of are: confidence, courage, commitment, passion, empowerment, trustworthiness, and likeability. Not all of these traits come in an equal concoction of awesomeness—the mix will talk to how influential you really are.
If we were benchmark ourselves against highly influential people, we would likely pick some religious icon, business mogul, or academic. The choices are endless. Let’s take a brief look at the attributes of influence.
Confidence is how much you rely on and believe in yourself and your abilities. You may have a strong sense of personal judgment that lets you know when you are right, especially when the outcome of a situation is unknown. People could relate this to vision or the art of seeing the unseen.
Commitment is your will to achieve an outcome. Those with high commitment will overcome almost any adversity and power through to the finish line. Commitment and purpose are intertwined. Knowing what you are striving for will be a strong driver for you.
Courage is where you draw your inner strength from. It’s how you face barriers to success or challenges to outcome. Having courage can move you through a confronting situation in the workplace, to a balanced, peaceful, or fruitful outcome. Courage and commitment make great bed fellows.
Passion—one of my favorites—is your eagerness to complete the job and engage others on your progress. Those with high passion can very clearly communicate their vision to others and demonstrate the value of having them join you.
Empowerment is the ability to share the effort and rewards that follow. Those who are comfortable sharing power attract others to their work or vision. Being empowered means that you build the competence of others around you and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Trustworthiness. A big one here for us all is having others place their trust in you without being let down, betrayed, or taken advantage of. Trust and responsibility show others that when you commit to something, you finish the task, are reliable, and in turn they will support you. Trustworthiness is probably the hardest attribute to attain, and the easiest to lose.
Likeability is how you demonstrate your positivity to others. Having a positive mindset and allowing others to feel positive can be an empowering experience for both parties. Likeable people tend to be heard more, trusted more easily, believed more often, and given the benefit of the doubt. Being likeable does not mean that you are a push over or are overly optimistic. Rather, it means you can overcome the barriers to success by believing work matters, and that you can only be successful when you have the support of others.
These traits underpin the best leaders, influencers, popular icons, and community elders.
When we consider ourselves against these seven traits, what do we see in ourselves? We may be committed and passionate about our cause, but does our likeability and empowerment let us down causing people to trust us less?
Let’s turn this into a positive statement. When we are clear about our purpose and have the determination to deliver a great outcome that benefits others as well as ourselves, then we are more likely to be trusted and supported.
Focusing on auditing—knowing your key competencies and how they can positively influence the outcome of an audit—will greatly improve your presence on site. Your confidence builds a level of trust in your capabilities and a commitment by the client to achieve a successful outcome.
What we know about auditing is that people are drawn to the profession by the nature of their personal attributes. These individuals have an innate sense of passion and pride in their work and know their efforts contribute to a safer, secure, consistent way of life for all that meet or exceed consumer expectations.
Influence can be measured and is able to be enhanced through your daily pursuits and reflections on your work. Your mix of traits can be identified, measured, and reported on, and you can become a more influential auditor.
If you have a story about a moment of influence you have achieved, participated in, or witnessed, please share it with us. If you would like to know more about how to measure your influence rating and how to build upon your traits, please get in touch.