The Art of the Favor: The Connection between Networking and Personal Influence within a College

Article excerpt

This article discusses various strategies for utilizing favors as a means for developing a personal powerbase and influencing individuals within a college setting. Building a personal network of influence centers upon effectively utilizing various strategies including; learning how to control the budget, how to empower others, when to compromise and be a team player, the importance of sharing success, and knowing when to call in favors. The author demonstrates that through the use of personal favors an individual can create a network of individuals who can be counted on for favors in turn. In the end, favors translate into individual obligations and future opportunities for reciprocity.

Favors

Building favors is essential to creating a network of individuals that can be counted on for favors in turn. Favors translate into future obligations. There are several ways to build these favors. Primary among these include the strategic use of budgetary funds and the empowering of people and their ideas.

Budget

The effective use of a budget is one of the important ways to grant favors. When individuals control the budget, they are in position to control resources that can provide key individuals with what they need and want. These can range from small practical everyday office or personal items to larger program building equipment. The budget can provide both the practical and the grand. The key is knowing when, to whom, and where to distribute the funds.

Empower Others

Successfully building favors also rests on the idea of learning how to empower co-workers and colleagues. This is best accomplished by establishing the reputation of being an individual who believes in others' ideas. As such an individual it is important to work to try to bring these ideas to reality. Attempts to do so can be through either the formal bureaucratic system or through networking with other individuals.

Advocating for others and their ideas means being willing to speak up on their behalf. Attitude is crucial here. It is good to be seen as the person who is willing to take risks and one who is willing to move forward the new ideas of others. The difference between saying, "let's see if we can find a way to make this happen, if not now then sometime down the road for sure" or saying "I don't know if this will work" is immeasurable. Being seen as the "can do" person is a major asset. Even if the answer is eventually no, the effort will still be perceived as noble.

Speaking on the behalf of others also means that at certain times an individual must be willing to fight for the "underdog." This can prove to be very beneficial to one's career. Backing the long shot instantly bestows on the individual the mark of a champion of the people.

Sometimes a cause manifests itself in the fight for "the principle" instead of for a specific individual. Others are quick to praise colleagues who are willing to fight for the ideal. They understand that the principle is worth preserving because they may need it one day for their own cause.

Believing in the ideas of others or fighting for the greater cause can at times mean taking an unpopular stance. Doing so occasionally will actually work to the benefit of the individual taking the stance. That person will be viewed as someone who is not a lackey of the administration and someone who upholds standards even in difficult times. All of these strategies portray the individual as an advocate for others and their ideas. Advocates are popular, admired, and powerful people who inspire loyalty in others. Loyalty is very important. Loyalty begets loyalty and in turn generates favors and protection.

Since perception is key, it is important to be seen as a selfless individual. Rule one in this strategy is to never advocate for oneself. As stated, it is better to advocate for others and for popular causes instead. Helping others who face the same problems will reap benefits for all, including the individual. …