Cultivate ‘Internal Stakeholder’ Relationships To Advance Your Career

Hint: It’s important to build connections with ‘higher ups’ before you need them

Internal Stakeholder

Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t a solo adventure. As you progress in your career, the things you do every day will impact influential people who hold the power to support or sap your success. Your career advancement and corporate value depends on your ability to turn internal stakeholders into advocates and assets to your success—do you know who they are?

In the AudioSolutionz webinar, “How to Manage and Influence Internal Stakeholders to Fast-Track Your Career Growth,” Joel Garfinkle delivers concrete techniques to help you identify, build, and manage the kind of productive relationships that will propel you forward.

Who Are They? Meet Your Internal Stakeholders

Broadly speaking, internal stakeholders are, as InvestorWords defines them: “Individuals who reside inside the company as board members, executives, managers, employees, and trade unions and who benefit directly from their contributions to the growth of the company.”

They are “employees or teams in your organization who have an interest or concern in a strategy, plan, program, project, product, or process,” according to Simplicable.

Simply put, your internal stakeholders are those who have influence or power over you or some aspect of your career, Garfinkle explains. They are individuals who can further your career growth—or set roadblocks.

Internal stakeholders have varying degrees of importance, influence, and power. For example, Mindtools offers these four categories of internal stakeholders with suggested engagement strategies:

  • High-power, highly interested people: Manage these stakeholders closely, fully engage them, and make the greatest efforts to satisfy them.
  • High-power, less-interested people: Keep these stakeholders satisfied, but don’t bore them with too much input.
  • Low-power, highly interested people: Keep these stakeholders informed of project progress.
  • Low-power, less -interested people: Monitor these stakeholders but don’t bore them with excessive communication.

How to Manage Internal Stakeholders

Once you identify who your internal stakeholders are, focus on strategies to build these relationships to propel your career.

Consider these 4 ways to foster positive internal stakeholder relationships:

  • Build trust: Trust is paramount to building positive internal stakeholder relationships. “Give people a reason to trust you by always doing what you say you are going to do,” according to an Oliver James Associates blog post. How? Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and don’t commit to work you can’t accomplish. “Your stakeholders will respect you more for being transparent about situations and this will ultimately build trust,” the article noted.
  • Remain competent and reliable: If you want to advance your career, you must stay on top of projects and keep open lines of communication with stakeholders. Treat your colleagues as you would a valued client, suggests Oliver James Associates: “Take interest in their world and you’ll earn respect, demonstrate your competence, and ultimately build strong, meaningful stakeholder relationships.”
  • Be a good listener: Take time to listen to your internal stakeholders to gain an understanding of their position and viewpoints. “When you understand why they think this way, you can speak up about your position and agenda,” states Knowledgehut. So maintain eye contact while you ask questions—and listen attentively for answers. Your attentiveness may actually make them more interested in what you have to say, too, suggests Knowledgehut.
  • Welcome diversity of ideas: Today’s workforce is diverse, and that goes for opinions, too. “People with good relationships not only accept diverse people and opinions, but they welcome them,” states Mindtools. This means that, as you receive opinions that differ from yours, you both consider these insights and factor them into your decision-making.

Connections Can Transform Your Career

Your career advancement is on the line—it’s time to give up any reluctance you may have about interacting with influential people. Don’t let title, authority, or power get in the way of building relationships with the ones who can become your valuable advocates, champions, mentors, and supporters, Garfinkle asserts.

You need transformational tools, models, and strategies that will help you stand out from the crowd and improve your chances of success. That’s what Garfinkle promises to deliver—including walking you through a four-step process for relationship building—in his career-growth webinar.

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About Amy Palermo
Amy is a regular content contributor for the AudioEducator and AudioSolutionz Blogs. A freelance editor who has worked in all phases of publishing over the last 25 years in both print and digital formats, Amy specializes in healthcare, human resources, technical skills and other key industry content. She is also experienced in book and journal layout and design, traditional and digital illustrations, and photo editing.