How to Influence Others Without Authority

Even the very best leaders among us cannot achieve success alone.

Driving long-lasting change and making a measurable impact requires the ability to influence others, no matter what your level of formal authority may be.

While you can certainly persuade your direct reports to support your efforts through positional power alone, there are many others within the business who will need to support you in order for you to be successful—and convincing them to do so may require some work on your part.

Imagine your organization without territory to defend, toes to step on, feelings to hurt, or credit to steal.

Leaders who are able to influence others without using authority to gain compliance can help do away with these destructive behaviors.

They are able to collaborate and communicate with other members of the team—across functions and up and down the business—and get everyone to focus on the outcome that is best for the whole organization.

The transition into a leadership role isn’t easy.

Most individuals receive promotions because they are superstar performers, individual contributors who are extremely competent and talented within their specialized area of the business.

Even after spending years in a leadership position, many leaders fail to live up to their full potential.

Why?

Because leadership requires you to build a strong network and accomplish results through other people, including those who you may not have any formal authority to control.

Like good relationships, strong, broad networks don’t just happen.

influence networkTo build them, you must take the time to consider the key people outside of your direct influence who will have an impact on your plans.

Peers, other leaders, customers, suppliers, mentors, and other departments within your business can help or hinder even the best-laid plans for execution.

To be successful, the first step you need to take to build your influence is to identify these individuals and work to develop better relationship with them.

Consider the key individuals, teams, and departments that you need to work with cooperatively to ensure that you’re successful over the long term.

It’s helpful to think in advance about any objections or obstacles that might arise.

Meet with others to address any concerns you anticipate before they become an issue and impede your progress.

True collaboration requires you to let go of your ego, independence, and any impulses you make have to make decisions entirely on your own.

It’s your responsibility to create a safe environment that allows ideas, input, and different perspectives to be shared in an open and candid way.

You must be able to freely share information, consider the merits of new ideas, and build innovative solutions that reflect the contributions of others.

There is nothing more frustrating to employees—at any level in the organization—than having their good ideas ignored.

Your ability to listen to and validate the input of others, regardless of your differences, will build your credibility as a leader.

Communicating your support for others’ ideas and perspectives, even when you feel or believe differently, is vital to building and maintaining trusting, productive relationships.

The ability to influence others requires that you respect the differences between your position and the other person’s needs, thoughts, and feelings about the situation.

It’s only after truly understanding the other person’s position that you will be able to find areas of commonality and agreement.

At that point, you’ll be able to find a path forward that satisfies both party’s needs and that everyone can support.

Relationship management is not easy.

It calls for emotional intelligence, social awareness, and excellent listening and communication skills—but it can be mastered with practice.

Leaders who achieve their full potential take this responsibility seriously and set a goal for building healthy relationships with others.

They successfully collaborate with and support their direct reports, other departments, peers, other leaders, and mentors in the business.

Contact CMOE to help you influence others and build the relationships that will enhance your success.

 

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About the Author

CMOE

CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology.