Create a network of allies
Besides your manager, you’ll want to assemble a group of people who believe in you and your mission. For one, allies are a source of emotional support during what can be a challenging time. They can also act as advisers when you need guidance and champions when persuading others to endorse the project. Plus, when you find yourself at a roadblock, drawing on a network of supportive counterparts can be beneficial. Remember that it’s a two-way street. If you want others to support you, look for opportunities to advocate for your colleagues.
Position yourself as an expert
If you want to build influence without authority, it helps to boost your industry presence. That way, you position yourself as an expert, which makes it easier to influence people to change their behavior. Thought leaders can drive meaningful change. To stand out as someone who inspires others and offers guidance, focus on your personal brand. Identify what makes you unique and build a brand that reflects your work and the value you bring to the table. While creating a personal brand takes time, it’s well worth the effort.
Building relationships is one of the most impactful ways to exert influence without authority. Having meaningful connections with co-workers fosters trust, which inspires them to help you reach your goals. This skill becomes even more important when managing virtual teams separated by multiple geographies and time zones. Start by finding common ground. Then, take the time to truly get to know your colleagues and develop your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a soft skill that allows managers to influence, persuade and connect with others. By being the compassionate leader your team needs, you can boost employee engagement, strengthen cooperation and increase performance.
When you are asked to lead without positional authority, you’re bound to encounter resistance. Embrace it! Part of being a true leader is recognizing that you can’t know everything. If there is pushback, take the time to learn where it is coming from. There may be an issue that you can address. Otherwise, see it as an opportunity to explain your ideas more compellingly.