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How To Be An Influencer At Workplace

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Gaining influence in the modern workplace is getting difficult, according to Nick Morgan, author of Power Cues. “It’s never been harder to influence others because they’ve never been more distracted,” he says. “Information overload and the pace of our digital lives have led to short attention spans.” And yet, “it’s more important than ever to be able to command influence, because of the increased pressure on getting results” and the emergence of VUCA World. Now It all comes down to the approach one takes. Here are some tips:

Understanding People:

Spend considerable time getting to know people, this is a fundamental and most crucial step towards influencing. Go deeper and listen to understand, find out their personality, is the person Dominant, Influencing, Steady or Conscientiousness (DISC), recognizing the personality style and mirroring the same would result in building quicker rapport. Discover and understand their life purposes or motives in the workplace; is the person looking for advancement, is the person looking for stability, is the person looking for fame/recognition/acceptance. This vital information plays a pivotal role when you formulate your influence strategy. Knowing people will take time, be patient and persistent, as you embark on this journey, you will also build trust. Remember you will have to talk decidedly less and listen more, general thumb rule is you talk about 20% and listen about 80% of the time. Develop the skill of asking great questions, as this will help unearth the deep emotions from individuals and finally listen to understand and not to respond.

Organization Savvy:

Learn to recognize and adapt to a variety of organizational climates to get things done. Be aware of the importance of timing, individual motivations, and group dynamics especially in managing change. Be skilled in when and how to escalate issues. Pay attention and analyze deeply to extract relevant matters from the “noisy” environment, and get to know who are the key players in any decision. Observe and discover networking groups, e.g. who goes out with who for Lunch, after office hours parties, Golf, Hiking, Charity work or any other form of meetups. Learn to be skilled and discover hate networks without being perceived as political.

You can be in one of the networking groups, but do not stay there. To be Org Savvy, talk to as many people on a regular basis. Keep yourself updated on what is happening in the organization without directly getting involved. Don’t get trapped in the bait laid out by others, especially when they start to share some political news about the organization. Stay neutral; if you participate, it will boomerang someday back to you.

Influencing Strategy:

Now that you have gained a fair bit of insight of the organization and the individual, let us discuss the influence strategy. There is a simple model which will help you to organize your thoughts and help you influence effectively. Before I explain the model, let us first understand the components of the model.

Goal: What do I want?

Be 100% sure of what exactly you want, many people they try to influence others without having a full clarity on what is that they are trying to change. For example, a co-worker frequently submits his/her reports late and with errors, which makes your task arduous and also create a time pressure. You set up the meeting and discuss with this person the issue, the conversation goes up and down and in all directions with the other person, getting overly defensive and finally he may agree partially about the problem since he acknowledges the problem partly, you are satisfied and move on. However, his behavior remains inconsistent with some slight improvements. If you would have approached this meeting with a clear goal, that you need the report to be submitted on time with no errors, then the conversation and outcome would have been much more different. Hence, the first step is to write down what is it that you exactly want. Be as specific as possible.

How will I know when I get it?

Again many people do not know exactly know when they need to stop influencing. Without the goal and specific outcome, there is a higher probability that conversation might keep dragging. In the above example, supposedly a person agrees to fix the issue moving forward and submits it timely however since you were unclear with and what is that you are looking, you might keep influencing him to agree on his mistakes, whereby the effort is futile and unproductive, also detrimental towards a relationship.

We all live in a world of perception; if you speak to NLP experts, almost all will tell you that we human beings 90% live in a world of perception and only 10% in reality. One needs to stay away from both conscious and unconscious bias, and it is essential to write down your perceptions or assumptions under self quadrant. This skill is important, as during the conversation you should test the hypothesis if it is true or is it a perception.

You can increase your influence on a particular issue by authentically framing it as a benefit to the people you want on your side. Consider each stakeholder’s needs, perspectives, and temperaments. “Do your homework to find out what they need to hear and what will capture their attention, what is important to them,” Morgan says. For each person, “make sure you’re answering the question, ‘What’s in it for me?” He also recommends talking about how an idea will “benefit the organization” as a whole. “Use the word ‘we,’ as in ‘We’ll see the value,’” he says. Clark concurs. “If your proposal is fundamentally self-interested, people won’t line up.”

And finally, do know what is going on in other person life both personally and professionally. Do they carry any baggage or history? As these may have a significant impact on influence both positively or negatively. Understanding these key points will help navigate the conversation with the other person.


When it comes time to leveraging the influence you’ve built to promote a particular initiative or idea, be strategic. Clark recommends creating a “power map” to guide your campaign. “Create an orgnizational chart of decision makers related to your issue,” she says. As you go through the levels, “ask yourself, ‘Can I influence this person directly? If not, whom can I influence who can influence that person?’” Then begin to think about how and when you will approach these various colleagues. “War-game the situation,” she says. “Who might be threatened by your plans, and how can you bring them over to your side?” You’re not scheming; you’re strategizing. Use the above template which will help you to organize them through and help you navigate the conversation and eventually assist you in influencing.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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