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Influence without authority

Influence without authority
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In today's corporate scenario where teamwork is given utmost value, every individual is expected to be able to seamlessly work with others not just in...

In today's corporate scenario where teamwork is given utmost value, every individual is expected to be able to seamlessly work with others not just in their own teams but also with those from other teams. In fact, synergy and collaboration being the key words and concepts of every organization nowadays, most individuals are expected to be proficient in getting work done by others even though they may not have the authority over them.

In such scenarios where interdepartmental dependencies are increasing day by day and the importance of owning the entire task even when it involves the experience and time of others over whom we may not have any direct or even indirect hierarchical authority, the skill and ability to influence is considered one of the utmost and important skills any individual needs to acquire. Then, especially in situations wherein one does not have the authority to elicit compliance, here is the critical question that any employee or individual would ask: "How can I hold someone accountable that doesn't report to me?"

By knowing the various possible techniques of influencing, one can get enthusiastic cooperation from others. There are many ways of doing this, including asking for help, showing care and affection that makes people move beyond their abilities to do things for you, etc.

n Reciprocity: One sure way of getting into a position to influence people is to choose to offer them help, where possible, since the law of reciprocity works on a universal belief that people should be paid back for what they do, that one good deed deserves another, and that one's good actions will get reciprocated in one form or another, from someone or the other.

The expectation of reciprocal changes occurs between any two people, could be the boss and employee, an employee with a peer, one manager to another, with higher-level managers in other parts of the organization, client to vendor, etc, whether it is in the same team or between teams. These exchanges enable people to handle the give-and-take of working together without them having any form of strong negative feelings.

n Allies: Many a time when a person starts off to influence the other person, they do so by starting with the assumption that they need to work extremely hard to get the other person to listen to them and take their tasks as priority since they are not theirs anyway for accountability. A key ingredient for successful influencing is thinking of the other person as a powerful potential ally and not as one on the opposite side.

Today most organizations and individuals have begun to discover the importance of creating strategic alliances between themselves so that each party has the freedom to pursue their interest whilst also ensuring that the others get to pursue theirs. This means that employees in different departments work together for mutual goals which, all in all, aid in enhancing the organizations' goals.

n Reframing: When once a person decides to view the other as a potential ally, one has to make a conscious effort to take a step off from their current state of looking at something and also view things from the other's perspective. Many a time we look for what we want so intensely that we tend to miss out on what is important for the other side.

When once we decide the other person is an ally, we then need to choose to pause from our perspective and walk to the other person's side and check in terms of what they are thinking and how it looks from their perspective. Then, as two friends, the two individuals can mutually resolve for win-win solutions. To be an effective influencer, one needs to consistently be aware of the potential ally's world, and understand how it works.

n Clarity: Many a time, unfortunately, those who desire to influence others are not really very clear about what they want or about their self-changing priorities. It is important for an individual, before they influence another, to be able to identify why they are trying to influence the other person. They need clarity on what is it that they need from the other people, what their primary and secondary goals are?

From an organization's perspective, it is important now to keep one's personal wants and goals out of the situation. It may be good to be aware of what is an essential outcome versus what one may subconsciously want to be seen as "right," or how one may want to have the "last word."

These personal motivations often get in the way of effective influencing. Having said that, many times people who desire to influence are not always precisely aware of what they want. Instead of their cluster of needs, individuals need to have clarity on what exactly the goals are and channelize conversations for influencing towards these goals.

Too often, we fail to recognize just how much ability we can have to influence others in the organization through mutually beneficial exchanges or otherwise. So build reciprocity, connect, have clarity and look at everyone as an ally....

Know how to Influence without authority... You have the power!

(The writer is an international trainer and inspirational speaker http://www.revathionline.com)
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