How to Have More Influence at Work | Part 1


Most of us spend at least 40 hours at work each week. While this can seem depressing or exciting to some people, it’s an unavoidable reality for many of us.

If your desire is to improve your relations at work, climb the ladder, and gain more influence, this week and next are for you.

Today, I will be discussing the first 3 ways to gain more influence at work:

1. Be Indispensable

The best way to get what you want from work and career is to make yourself indispensable. If people are relying on you for their happiness and success, you have huge leverage whenever you ask for something in return. To become indispensable, you must know how to do something that others don’t — this could be anything from technology skills to social skills. The more people rely on you, the more influence you have over them.

2. Be the Solution

Similar to being indispensable, becoming the solution means being able to discern the problem and react with a focused solution. If you are indispensable, your coworker may come to you to fix a problem, but being the solution means finding the problem yourself. Be careful, however, since you don’t want to overdo it. Finding a problem, setting a goal, and then becoming the solution are traits that any boss or coworker would find admirable. Sucking up and not knowing when to stop may inspire a different sort of response. Don’t try to impress people too much and don’t embarrass or outshine others in a braggadocious way. Make your work seem effortless. There’s a fine line between trying too hard and not trying hard enough.

3. Be Positive

Nobody likes negativity. It is contagious and can absolutely ruin an organization. Not only should you be as positive as you can, but try to avoid the negative and unhappy to avoid it rubbing off on you. Open-hearted, positive people tend to attract other happy and fortunate people as well. Once you have cultivated a graceful and courteous manner, you’ll instantly start gaining influence among the people around you. I’ve always told people in my organization, working with me, that you complain up and edify down. So, if you have a legitimate complaint, don’t gossip with your coworkers, bring it up the chain of command to the appropriate person. For all other conversation, encourage, uplift, and speak positively down into the organization.

A photo posted by Todd Phillips (@todphil) on

Here’s your challenge:

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you learning or improving a skill that adds value to your work?
  • Are you wanted and needed? Do people notice when you take a day off?
  • How is your emotional state while at work? Are you part of a clique that celebrates or complains?

Give yourself some time to reflect on these questions.

After an honest assessment, work on the three things I talk about in the video: becoming indispensable, becoming the solution, and absolutely refusing to let negativity take hold.

Until we talk again, Live Passionately, Give Generously, and Impact the World for God.

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Further Reading:


Hey, this is Todd Phillips, your online pastor and personal life coach. I want to talk today about a topic that’s been a huge deal on email and Facebook as I’ve talked to lots of people over the last few months, and that’s having more influence at work.

I mean, after all, how many hours do we spend at work? Some of us work 40, 50, 60, 70 hours a week. It’s where we spend most of our waking days. Now, we can be depressed by that, or excited by that, but it’s the reality for many of us.

So, how do we have a greater amount of influence at work? I’m going to talk about this over the next two weeks. I’ve got 6 things I want to share with you. They’re all very important, and I want to spend a little bit of time on each one. So this is going to be a 2-part video blog series, this week and next.

So again, we’re talking about how to have more influence at work. The first thing I want to talk about is becoming indispensable. Now, this is something that’s kind of hard to really wrap our minds around or get very practical about it, but let me try it this way — one of the things that I’ve noticed in being in leadership, whether it’s in churches or businesses, over many years, is a that as I’ve had people working for me, or in my area, working underneath my leadership — one of the things that I’ve noticed is that I respond incredibly well when someone becomes indispensable.

And what do I mean by that? Well, I’ll give you a great example of that. There was a gentleman that worked for me not too long ago that was working in a specific department, a specific area — he was involved in church planning and discipleship for ministry work we’re doing overseas.

And he found out pretty early on in his job with us, just several months into his new role, he had found out that we needed someone that really understood Excel, the software package, Excel, and really knew how to manipulate that software package to do a couple of very important things for our ministry, so we can measure certain things that were very important to us.

And so he came into my office and he said, “Listen, I’m brand new on this staff, and I know we’ve got a small group, and you expressed the need for this, and this is an area of expertise for me because of my last job. I wondered if I could do this on my own time. I know you’ve got me here for church planning and discipleship, helping in Liberia, but I’d love to do this on my own time.”

And of course with such a small staff that we have at the Last Well, this ministry that I’m talking about — I sat down with him and I said, “Listen I really appreciate that and I’d love for you to help us out with this.” So true to form, because he’s a man of character, he did his major job during the hours that we were paying him, but he decided on his own time, on the weekends, on time where he had some spare time over the next few months, actually creating these Excel files for us, and did a phenomenal job. And from my perspective, he became indispensable. And I’ll tell you why — because he was willing to lean into challenges.

Becoming indispensable is really becoming indispensable in the perception of those that are in authority over you at your job. So what are their greatest perceived needs? How can you help them the most, and look for ways to lean into those challenging situations, and become one of those people on the team that’s indispensable? You want to have influenced at your job? Become indispensable.

The second thing I want to talk about it being the solution. In many ways, that’s exactly what the gentleman did — he became the solution to a big problem. But we always need to be looking for opportunities for us to lean into those challenging situations and become the solution. Now it takes a little bit of discernment to know the difference between leaning into a situation where we’re very adept at doing that or becoming the solution, and leaning into situations to try to impress our boss where we shouldn’t be.

There have been a lot of people that have worked in organizations with me before that have tried to lean into those situations, tried to become the solution, and were not, were not in any way able to accomplish the things they were leaning into. And so far from becoming indispensable, frankly they became very dispensable. Are you with me? We’ve got to understand that we need to know when we’re able to lean into those situations and become the solution, and when we should stay out of it.

But if you truly can help, look for opportunities to help, that’s a way to have influence in the work environment. That’s a way to become indispensable — leaning into those solutions or those problems, and becoming the solution.

Number 3 — be positive. Absolutely refuse to be negative. Now let me just say this, and I want you to be kinds of spend some time thinking about this after this video’s over, as you go about your day — you need to absolutely refuse to let negativity take hold in your life.

Negativity and having a critical spirit can be a cancer in an organization, an absolute cancer! One of the things that I leaned early on and I’ve shared this in every circumstance I’ve been in in leadership — I’ve always told people in my organization, working with me, that you complain up and you edify down. And say that again, you complain up and you edify down.

And what I mean by that is simply this, that if there’s a challenge we don’t share with our peer group or people that we’re in authority over, we go to our boss, people in leadership over us, and if we need to complain, if we have a concern or critique, we take that up, but we edify and we encourage and we uplift right and we speak positively down into the organization. That’s quite the opposite of being a cancer; that’s a beautiful way to run an organization. You want to have influence at work? Always remember complain up and edify down.

Now next week we’re going to talk about 3 more things to have an influence at work. But remember these 3 things: become indispensable, be the solution, and absolutely refuse to let negativity take hold. Don’t be that guy; the negative guy — always be that person who’s positive and uplifting.

If you’ve got problems, go up; if you’ve got encouragement, share that outward. That will build an incredibly strong organization. You will be contributing to that positive culture and you’ll have more influence at work.

Until we talk again, Live Passionately, Give Generously, and Impact the World for God.

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