Influence without Authority

Depends on different contexts, Project managers and product managers might have different powers/ authorities. They can sometimes act as “CEO” of the team or can own no power in another flat structure. There is an immortal phase in the PM community “influence without authority”. This is a helpful guide/ technique to drive the team through uncertainties and challenges.

Why influencing people is important:

As a PM, we need to work with varieties of stakeholders with different backgrounds, priorities, experiences. Failing to get people aligned with each other will definitely hold the team back. So, it’s critical for the PM to influence stakeholders to agree on vision, approach, prioritization & the team can move forward.

How to be better at influencing people:

It comes from how we behave with teammates, the culture and trust we build with the team. This is not something that happens overnight. It requires continuously cultivation & practice on the daily basis. Each person might pursue his own way to build up a skill. There is some specific advice you can consider:

  1. Start with the why: to make sure that each individual understands the core motivation to drive the team forward.
  2. Active listening: to truly understand your teammates, to show we care and enforce relationships.
  3. Embrace differences: people can have different viewpoints to solve problems. Facilitating teams to make decisions is the key to build a healthy culture where people can contribute. 

Any other advice to practice the influencing skill with teams?