Influence without Authority
Long gone are the days of managers giving instructions and employees following them without question. As organizations become smaller, virtual teams have more employees who are required to exercise influence in situations where they do not have any hierarchical authority. You might be responsible for a project that involves multiple teams or partners. How can you exert influence over people outside your control but who you need to help? Here are some ways to influence without authority: Being a subject matter expert can be a powerful influencer. Because of his technical knowledge on the subject, team members respect the project manager. Because they believe the project manager is an expert, they trust him and follow his orders. He is an expert in the subject and can handle problems. It would be difficult for the project manager to earn respect from his team members if he does not have the expertise. You must first be knowledgeable about the subject matter of your project. Clarity: High-performing teams have clear expectations. Clear expectations are key to high-performing teams. This is a great tool for team management, especially in a collaborative and decentralized environment. Meetings should never be ended without clearly defining accountability. Do not allow complexity to become your weakness. Be clear and simple in your direction and in your accountability. Action often gets lost in ambiguity. Make it personal: You have a better chance of having an impact on people if you are able to establish a personal connection. People will trust you more if they feel like you share their values and trust your advice. Make an effort to get to know people and go beyond the superficial. It is important to be authentic: It is crucial to get team members on the same page. All managers have access to a wealth information thanks to technological advances. Use the data you have available to support your arguments and make a strong business case. Your team will feel connected and “in the loop” if you are a Project Manager. Keep your team informed is a way to get buy-in. Transparency brings the team together and encourages alignment. Networking is key to moving your project forward. Know not only who the top movers and shakers in your industry, but also who the “go to” people who can help you get the information you need. You are more likely to convince people you want to influence that your network is well-connected and that you have the potential to obtain financial backing and top-level support for your plans. Your network is not just for impressing – it can also be used to help colleagues make new connections. Leaders who are great add value to their teams. As you help your team develop their skills, your team’s effectiveness will increase. People will be more inclined to stick with you if they know that you can help them expand their networks and increase their personal influence. Part of the Credit: It is important that you don’t take credit for everything that goes well. Recognize the contributions of others and show appreciation for their efforts. Influence isn’t something you can do once in a while. You need to establish a reputation as someone who is trustworthy and a pleasure to work with. You may need to work with the same people in the future.