A recent participant in a BRODY training program contacted me last week via e-mail.
“I’ve been put in charge of a large project and was told to choose my own team from any departments in the organization,” she wrote. “If successful, it will be the beginning of a whole new direction for our company. I’m very excited.”
She went on to tell me that as she was still fairly new to the company, she didn’t have a title that afforded her any genuine authority. In fact, some of the colleagues she wanted for her team were far more senior than her.
The participant then asked, “Why would these new team members listen to someone without any authority over them? Won’t they resent me?”
This is a classic work dilemma. For this woman to successfully lead her new, hand-picked team, she needs to learn the vital art of influencing without authority.
Here are five things to remember if you find yourself in a similar situation – which I e-mailed the participant:
- Influencing others without authority is a skillset comprised of various leadership skills. If you demonstrate leadership, people will feel confident in following your lead – no matter what title is on your sig file.
- Excellent communication skills are a must. Ask for others’ feedback, and actually listen to and consider this feedback in making any necessary changes.
- When possible workplace conflict arises, don’t shy away -- meet issues head on with a non-confrontational tone. Look for a win-win. In this way, you build strong relationships and respect of others – critical for influencing without authority.
- Let go of trying to control others. Control is a myth. Instead, lead by example. Be someone that others want to follow.
- Remember WIIFT? (what’s in it for them?). Understanding what motivates the individuals on your team will help you communicate what they have to gain by following your lead.
For more details on this important workplace topic, ask us about BRODY’s training program “Influencing Without Authority.” Or, purchase my “mini” book Influence Without Authority: People, Projects & Progress.