How to Influence Without Authority

How to Influence Without Authority

A title may give someone in a leadership position the authority to make decisions and direct work, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are a great leader.

Leadership is not about using a title, but rather understanding your team to build trust through transparency to influence without authority. 

Even more so, anyone can exemplify the traits of a leader, whether on a production line, managing a team, or running the company. Same goes for influence. Anyone can influence, whether that’s managing up, peer-to-peer, or managing down.

So how do you take your title and position of authority out of the equation to positively influence your team?

Step 1: Make a Connection

Gone are the days of separating business from the rest of life. This doesn’t mean you need to know every detail and become best buddies with your employees, peers, or managers.  

The focus here is understanding others’ motivators, their work styles, and how to best support them.

Step 2: Same Goals, Same Page

Oftentimes I see individuals in leadership positions resort to using authority in decision-making when they are frustrated. This is usually due to a lack of understanding of the goals you and your team are working on.

Make sure you’re focused on the same goals and that those are effectively communicated. Keeping a “we’re in this together” focus can help assist trust-building and influence.

Step 3: Create a Foundation of Trust

Build trust with your team through transparency.

You will always have a bigger impact when you include others because no one has all the answers. Utilizing more minds and perspectives can support great collaboration and problem-solving while also building trust and loyalty.

There will be times when it’s not necessary or conducive to bring others in but communicating why or what is still essential for trust-building. Think about when you go in for an annual physical. Your doctor may spend more time on concerns or precautions to take, but they still run through the full report. Give the updates to build trust, regardless of what participation looked like.

Step 4: Understand the Why

When influencing others, they need to know the why. Using authority and statements like “because I said so” or “you don’t need to know” is the fastest way to lose trust.

Be transparent with the why behind decisions, processes, and other organizational updates to gain influence.

At the end of the day, building trust and gaining influence without authority is about modeling positive behaviors. It’s more than stating you’ll do the above things, it’s actually applying them everyday.

“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwell

Are you worried your influence may be doing more damage than good? Connect with me for a free 15-minute assessment to gauge your true influence and how to ditch the title and lead with your heart.

Make sure you don’t miss another blog! Follow me on LinkedIn or subscribe to my newsletter and receive blogs, resources, and freebies on HR and Leadership right to your inbox!