Have you ever had a coffee break in an office and observed how people gravitate to each other.
Or when one colleague speaks many others stop what they are doing and listen?
Or have you been in a meeting and there is no agreement and then someone speaks up and things fall into place or the lightbulb seems to go off collectively?
Another scenario you may have witnessed is when something has failed to gain pick up and someone else simply suggests the same thing in slightly different words and manages to push it ahead.
Yes, by their gravitas.
These are all factors of an internal influencer.
The Internal Influencer
There is a tiny percentage of people who have something a bit more, they gain buy-in regardless of their position on the org chart, their title does not seem to matter.
Typically this comes down to a few factors,
- Their expertise levels
- The way they tell stories
- They craft presentations that resonate with the audience and connected narratives
- And for many internal influencers, it is the way they navigate the political waters and influence accordingly.
Titles Do Not Equal Influence
Titles can be a factor, of course, many people follow the hierarchy, we are brought up to follow and respect people with a “higher title” but many internal influencers do not have senior titles, they might be in the middle of their career or a Director of or Head of and influence layers above them as easily as those in their team.
Having That Something Extra
Internal influencers have something extra, they have a pull that many just cannot buy or sway even with the most senior rank.
Like the other important colleagues, we have discussed on Focus, the secret weapon, the hidden leaders and the catalyst – the way they operate, the people they collaborate with and the way they influence those around them is essential. A secret weapon and an internal influencer is an ideal pairing in a department.
Cross functionally if they click it can feel like an extra life or a boost against a boss in a computer game for your business.
The Internal Influencer Role
The secondary role of the internal influencer is essential:
- From gaining respect and buy-in from those around them
- To pushing important projects through
- To pairing and collaborating with the right partners to get results
- Ability to bring awareness to a problematic area
- The internal influencer is a role many businesses struggle to hire and struggle to keep.
The internal influencer does the majority of their work by speaking and connecting the dots for others, this is not their sole role however if you identify the internal influencer, it can be crucial to understand their extra value and work with them to maximise their influence and help their career blossom.
Build Out Your Team & Roles
Striking your balance of your team is always a challenge, however when crafting your company culture these internal roles, particularly the internal influence will be vital components of getting it right and removing a toxic company culture.
Help Internal Influencer
In your next meeting or your next team catch up, understand how your team is made up, map out the people to these important internal roles, which roles can your team members play and if you can help work with your internal influencer to improve the business and their career.