Making things happen with multiple stakeholders, competing agendas and constant change means you have to be at the top of your game to succeed.

Flatter management structures, more intricate partnerships and alliances all require people to exercise influence without having any authority, in order to achieve their objectives. This happens with colleagues as well as peers from other companies.

Previously more senior executives needed these skills but the requirement is travelling further down organisations than ever before. Now you need to know how too.

11 Ways To Exercise Influence Without Authority

1. Who are you?

Your desire and need to influence puts you under the microscope. Understanding personal dynamics is fundamental for influencing. It starts with you. You need a high degree of self-awareness of your own style of communication and interaction and your impact on others.

2. How good is your reputation?

People in the public eye hire public relations experts to manage their reputation. If you want and need to influence others you need to make and manage a healthy reputation. Your skills, values, achievements, track record, and personal qualities such as reliability and cooperativeness all play a part.

3. Who are they?

Influence can seem like a hazy concept until you ask specific questions. Ask yourself who you need to influence and what you want to influence them to do? Also ask whom you know or could get to know who is already in a position to influence that person. If you are not on their radar the people who are become potential allies.

4. What makes them tick?

Just like you they have a preferred style of communication and interaction. They have a way of seeing the world. Identifying what this is will help you to communicate with them in a way that resonates with them. Observe, ask and listen.

5. What’s in it for them?

It’s a mistake to think that you can persuade someone if you only offer what is important to you. The skill is to first find out what is important to them. This involves thinking about and discovering their goals, ambitions, values, concerns and fears.

6. Is your message a Win-Win?

The skill is to create a win-win by describing what you want to achieve in terms that will also help them accomplish their goals or help them overcome something that keeps them awake at night. To realise this you’ll need to consult with them and ask for their input and opinions on your proposal at an early stage.

7. What stage is the relationship?

As with other relationships time and care needs to be taken. Trust doesn’t happen instantly. Create a step-by-step strategy to move to the next stage. Develop rapport; encourage open dialogue; do what you say you will do.

8. How can you help?

Giving before receiving seems counterintuitive but the law of reciprocity tells us something different. If you do something for another person they naturally feel they want to do something in return. Done cynically people will spot it a mile away. But done authentically it’s a powerful way to create cooperative momentum.

9. Are you willing to trade?

Negotiation involves discovering a way of fulfilling as many of our shared interests as possible. If you need someone’s cooperation what can you offer in return?

10. Who will vouch for you?

Frequently you don’t know whom you need to know and you don’t know what’s important to them or how they tick. A few days ago a client proposed to introduce me to a very important person in his company. The next part of the conversation was about whom I knew and had worked with previously who already had the respect of the VIP. Keep investing in your network.

11. Have you built a coalition?

One of Kotter’s golden rules for managing change is ‘Build a guiding coalition.’ If you can persuade and collaborate with other colleagues who will add their support and resources to your initiative you’re much more likely to succeed.


Wizcomm is a specialist leadership development company equipping leaders to turn relationships into results. To know more get in touch here.