Are you effectively leading beyond your authority?

People find it easier to follow the ideas of someone they like, respect and trust, suggests Erica Hersh in Leading Outside Your Authority, a 2015 article for the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

People-focused leadership—genuine care and appreciation—is so critical to cultivate healthy, mutually beneficial relationships. It doesn’t just happen; it is with intention and effort that we build relationships. The bonus is a stronger, broader sphere of influence, and more meaningful relationships.

Your ability to pitch ideas and win over opinions directly relates to your relational strengths. One way to measure influence is by the number of people who adopt your perspective. Strong relationships are characterized by cooperation, collaboration and implementation.

They also develop into networks, where influence is compounded. You may not have relationships with everyone you’d like to influence, but a growing network of followers helps cement your reputation, creates further connections and brings beneficial supporters on board. People within the network will rally others who will embrace your efforts. You can grow a solid base of support by leveraging relationships within a network.

Credibility is Key

Demonstrating credibility helps compel people to work with you, Hersh says. People trust leaders whose ideas make sense and who have a history of effecting positive change. Nothing beats a track record of making things happen. People seek leaders with the insight to pinpoint needed improvements and the skills to implement the necessary changes.

Part of being credible is the ability to think critically, yet openly.  Your capacity to see things objectively—and realistically—engenders trust. Leaders who openly tackle and overcome obstacles with regularity and positivity are deemed credible. Be a critical thinker, not a critical person.

Build credibility by continually forging ahead and rejecting passivity, especially when things don’t go your way, suggests Clay Scroggins, author of How to Lead When You’re Not In Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority (Zondervan, 2017). Become known for never giving up, while putting the organization’s needs ahead of your own.

Be a role model by behaving like a team player. Demonstrate that you’re willing to roll up your sleeves, and eschew the “it’s not my job” mentality; you’ll earn respect and enhance your credibility.

Show others that “good enough” is not good enough. A powerful role model sees a need that no one else is addressing and works toward remedying it.

So, let me ask: are you effectively leading beyond your authority? Are you building credibility? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 561-582-6060; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.

Leave a Comment