The reality is that your formal title alone will not automatically take you far when seeking to build credibility and maintain strong relationships, both within and outside the organisation.

Maxim Sytch, a professor whose research focuses on the dynamics of networks and influence, provides these steps for carrying out a personal power audit.

  • Step 1: List your top 10 contacts in your network, internal and external to your organisation, who enable you to get work done.
  • Step 2: For each contact, assign a score from 1 to 10, indicating how much you depend on them. If a contact is significantly valuable for you, give a high rating. The value provided to you can vary from career advice, access to resources and information, or support with projects or daily activities.
  • Step 3: Repeat the second step in reverse. Assign a score to yourself from the others’ perspectives. How much value do you offer your key contacts in your network?

Once you have completed these three steps, look for potential red flags which might indicate that you lack informal power.

  • Do all your contacts work in one team, business unit or office building?
  • Do your contacts provide you with more value than you return?
  • Is the value you give or receive concentrated in a few contacts?

Now that you have carried out your informal power audit, it is worthwhile knowing how you can improve your standing.

  1. Seek to deliver value to an array of people across multiple functions. Position yourself to meet, learn from and deliver value to a variety of diverse groups in the organisation.

  2. Offer significant contributions to others. Seek to find out the areas which are valuable for your stakeholders where you can support – sometimes what comes easy for you might be challenging but valuable for others. Think beyond professional domain too.

  3. Join social and professional associations and actively participate in activities. Seek to expand your network beyond your immediate group of peers and colleagues.

Building and cultivating personal connections within and outside your organisation is key towards being recognised as an influential person. Having influence has clear value as it enables you to get more done and advance the projects that you care about and are responsible for, which means you are more likely to get noticed and be recognised as an expert in your field. See you at the next networking event!

Stay tuned for my next article, where we will delve further into how to increase your influence at work.


Michelle Fenech Seguna is the Founder and Director of Speak to Move, offering professional training programmes which enable participants to communicate confidently and present powerfully in business and social situations.  Michelle is based in Malta, where she offers executive coaching and corporate group training.  To know more about Speak to Move services you can reach Michelle Fenech Seguna on [email protected] or access www.speaktomove.com.mt for more information.

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