Managing Influences at work

03 December 2019


“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” Jim Rohm

Managing Influences at work 


It is widely accepted that those we surround ourselves with can significantly influence who we are.  According to research by Harvard’s Dr David McClelland, people you regularly associate with determine as much as 95% of your success or failure in life. This is a huge statistic! 

We spend a substantial amount of time at work and the people you work with are likely to fall within the definition of those we spend the most time with. First it is important to point out that this can be beneficial. You have a perfect opportunity to meet people from a variety of backgrounds that can allow you to gain a new perspective on life. However, if you notice some influences at work are negative, how can you respond? 

Managing Influences 1

Most of us will not have the freedom to choose who we work with and negative influences 
will always be present. You can manage negative influences at work in a number of ways: 

1. Be honest. Tell people how they are negatively influencing you. Chances are they may not    realise their behaviour is having this impact. 

2. Empathy. Try to see a situation from their perspective. Maybe the person who is negatively    influencing you is stressed or unfulfilled at work. 
3. Keep calm. Take responsibility for how you react to a situation. You can’t control another    person’s behaviour, but you can choose how you respond to a situation. 

4. Increase positive influences. This allows less space for the negative. 

What steps can you take to increase positive influences? 

Ken Coleman describes both environmental peers and intentional peers in his book The Proximity Principle. Environmental peers describes those who are already in our proximity, whereas intentional peers are sought out as people with the ability to support us, hold us accountable and may also share similar ambitions and goals.  

Managing Influences 2

Your environmental peers that you work with directly, may already be positive influences. 
If not, you can find intentional peers who will positively influence you at work by looking across your organisation. 

LinkedIn to be a great tool for this, however connecting with colleagues through working groups, attending training and conferences can be effective too. 

Gina Hardcastle