4 Foundational Tips for Building Influence at Work

by | Dec 11, 2014

Have you ever had an idea, but fear stopped you from speaking up? It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your influence is limited. I know I’ve been there more times than I care to admit. But in those times that I feel compelled to speak up, I’ve been amazed at how welcome my ideas often were and that I was able to contribute to situations I thought were outside of my influence.

The fact is, God has placed every one of us where we are for a purpose – not to be timid and hide our gifts, but rather to be bold so that we can make a positive impact and help our team or our company to be more successful.

Esther was an orphan girl living in a foreign land. Her parents had died and the only family she had was her older cousin Mordecai who raised her. She was the least likely to have any influence on the King of Persia. But God set the stage and took her through what seemed like an impossible situation. Throughout it all, she remained poised. She followed Mordecai’s wise counsel. She fasted and prayed to seek God’s will. Her obedience opened the door for God’s favor and led Esther to become Queen of Persia, positioned to save an entire nation of Jewish people.

Esther didn’t start out having much influence, but her influence grew because she was willing to take bold action. Here are just a few ways we can learn from Esther and increase our influence at work:

  1. Identify a strong mentor: Find someone who is aligned with your values and with experience that will help you grow. Build a relationship so you can learn from that person.
  2. Seek God’s will through prayer: Taking time alone with God each day is important, but don’t let it stop there. Pray throughout the day, especially during those times when you have something to contribute and ask God for wisdom.
  3. Be prepared: Before you take action, make sure you have studies the business needs. Get to know the people involved and what matters to them. When you determine your approach armed with this information, you’ll get better results.
  4. Speak up with courage: Having done the work up front will give you greater confidence in your solution or idea and how to present it. Then you can take bold action and trust God for the outcome.

When my influence makes a difference, it’s not because of my own abilities, but rather because I use my gifts in faith so that God can work through me. While God has blessed each of us with gifts, abilities and talents, without Him we can do nothing of any lasting value. I need to remind myself of this fact every time I sit down to write for a new Leadership@Work Study, facilitate a group and deliver a presentation. Each of us needs to do our part with courage and trust God to do His part.

If He is leading you to make a difference, when you do your part He is faithful to make it happen.

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Catherine Gates

Catherine Gates is Executive Director of Women in the Marketplace, a nonprofit marketplace ministry that equips working women to confidently pursue their faith and career for the glory of God. She is also the author of The Confidence Cornerstone: A Woman’s Guide to Fearless Leadership. Learn more at womeninmarketplace.net.