Why would others want to collaborate, cooperate or unite with you and your mission or project? Because of your influence!
Learning to influence without any formal authority is one of the most valuable career skills you can hope to develop. It’s vital if you are asked to head up a multi-departmental initiative. It's equally vital if you want to become recognized as a leader in your space, and make important contributions to your company or industry.
From childhood, we are conditioned to “follow the leader” -- a behavior that continues into our adult, working lives.
What makes someone a leader? Is it a title, a position, the amount of papers published, or the amount of publicity? One key leadership trait is the ability to influence others.
We all want to have leaders who inspire us. To influence without authority requires first developing the qualities of an effective leader, and second, developing a coalition of like-minded individuals who can -- and will -- help you meet your objectives.
Here are 4 key components of influencing others:
- Likeability. We all want to talk to -- and work with -- people we like. Develop your likeability by going out of your way to listen to people, ask their opinions, and be interested in them.
- Strong relationships. You've heard it before: It’s not what you know but who you know. Do you have a solid network of advocates and supporters?
- Expertise. Do you know your stuff? Do you stay current on the latest developments in your area of expertise? Are you meticulous in how you implement projects? These attributes command respect, and respect leads to influence.
- Inspiration. Start with "Why." (See Simon Sinek's TED Talk on this topic.) Then, ask for what you need, thank people publicly, offer to help, and be a true team player.
Let go of trying to control others. Control is a myth. People can quit, sabotage, or stall. Industries can become obsolete.
Instead of control, remember the four areas mentioned above and you can master the art of influencing without authority. If you or your team need help in this area, BRODY also has a offers a workshop -- "Influencing Without Authority."