Friday, July 09, 2021

Influencing without authority

(Source of image:

Being a team leader or manager doesn’t mean that you get the authority to do what you wish or what you think. After taking a role, within a few days, managers realise that nothing is in their control, especially when they are working with a networked and large organization. In a knowledge economy where your knowledge has value, you need to influence them with mindfulness. It is not an easy job nowadays. There are a lot of high-level individual contributor roles where you have to work cross functionally with different people where the team comes together for common purpose. In both cases, you have to influence others to get the job done. As organizations are becoming more matrix and web, there is no other option but to work in the ecosystem where you are successful only when you coordinate, collaborate, and consolidate.

You can make it by:

Coordinating: You have to invest your energy to coordinate with different stakeholders for informing, interacting, and educating them on your initiatives. Once you create a situation where coordination is smooth, it is easy for you to collaborate.

Collaborating: Once you are successful in coordinating, you can expect some reciprocation from others. In the collaborating stage, you set up a context, agenda, and expectations. In this stage, you need to create a common purpose. Your compelling story will create a more appealing purpose.

Consolidating: In consolidation, you work on common strength, complement each other’s strength, and support each other in case of development areas. Here you take actions of combining a number of things into a single more effective or coherent way.        

Once you consolidate your relationship with others your influencing journey starts. To become a truly effective influencer you must be able to choose the best ‘influencing mode’ for any situation and use that mode skillfully. You can choose your influencing mode based on your relationship and where you are, i.e., in coordination, collaboration or consolidation stage.

You can use your “influencing mode” in three ways,

Driver mode: If you set up your purpose and both are aligned, then you can use this mode. It’s about what you, the influencer, think and feel, and what you want. It’s about expressing that to another person in a way that shapes their subsequent behaviour.

When used well, people may refer to you as dynamic, someone who drives things forward. However, use your driving style properly. If you are too pushy in driving mode, people may not feel comfortable, and they may feel that you are trying too hard, and they may be defensive.   

Peacemaker mode: You can use this mode when you want to influence the person towards a common goal but in an amiable way. It’s about focusing on other people and what they need, want, or expect of you. Whilst you may not agree with them, you genuinely want to understand what they are thinking and feeling. However, be careful while using this. People may perceive you as a manipulator if you overuse this.  

Withdrawer mode: In this mode, you don’t think that interacting with another person is going to be productive for time being and hence you give the space to others. You withdraw from the conversations. However, if you decide to do it tactically and temporarily, your style may be considered constructive, but if you use this mode to abandon your influence purpose, it is unproductive. Use this wisely.    

You have to influence every day and every time when you are interacting with your team, with your manager or peers. However, when you don’t have direct control or authority you need to be more agile while dealing with different types of people. Emotional intelligence still remains an important skill while influencing when you don’t have any official position. Along with your skills, competences, and knowledge, you also need to think about your behavioural style while influencing others.    

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organizations, current or past) 

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Tushar Vakil said...

Agreed Vinod Bidwaik True leadership is influence. Otherwise it is coercion or manipulation.

Anonymous said...

Amazon insights Vinod Bidwaik Sir.... & I do agree that "Often formal authority isn't enough to get the work done".

Lalita Vasu said...

Very interesting article. It is very important in today’s times.

Neeraj kumar said...

an absolutely relevant thought - matrix management is the key for success !

Mugdha Kowale said...

Very insightful sir. A Thought provoking blog !!! "

Nazzamuddin Sayyad said...

Thanks Vinod, for this brief and insightful post

Matrix structure by design is interdependent and quite very well segregated by functional scope and level of authority.
Basic requirement to run this matrix structure is to communicate and align on common shared objective , how each contribute towards success of this common objective and what’s in it for them
Then depending upon type of objective influencing style needs to be excercised. Switching between Driver, peacemaker and withdrawal mode depending on situations would need practice, self reflection and getting better..

Dr Aparna Sethi said...

Interesting article Vinod Bidwaik One can lead the teams by solving team members problems. The days autocratic leadership are gone.

Ashish Deshpande said...

Well said, Vinod !!

Large diversified conglomerate with a vast business portfolios, have potential resources working across various business verticals and functional dept. While working on a challenging task or projects
a cross functional taskforce is formed by putting together these potential diverse resources.
On a positive note, it is a significant opportunity for an individual to collaborate with the talents with different sets of unique skills, knowledge, expertise and experience. This not only benefits to demonstrate one’s own capabilities, potential and setting high bar of excellence, but also allows to gain value added knowledge, innovative ideas, understanding different perspectives, lead the task. Bringing up precision in working method, creative solutions and innovation to the table.  
On the other hand, such teamwork, certainly helps to breaks silo working mentality, boost team bonding, encourage sharing of ideas, improves the workplace dynamics, problem solving efficiency along with decision making ability.

It is also a great way in honing management skills, boost creative minds to able to multitask, pool ideas together, think out of the box for a common purpose and goal to be achieved

Vibhu Nair said...

Very pertinent Points!

Bhaskar Bhosale said...

Vinod, Good articulation on Leadership without Title.

Unknown said...

Very relevant guiding tips especially when working without title & authority but
Influencing all team including seniors to shop team across all plants to progress on continuous improvement intiative s.thanks a lot

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