In the current economic turmoil, one thing has become clear. In an enviroment of cutbacks, downsizing, and restructuring, formal lines of authority and accountability have been seriously disrupted and blurred. Therefore, it's more important than ever to build your ability to "influence without authority", since the people upon whose efforts your success depends may not report to you, or even to anyone at all.
So what are some best practices of cultivating your ability to influence others to be cooperative and collaborative when you do not directly or even indirectly supervise them? In my experience, here are some techniques that work:
- Go out of your way to assist others. If you are viewed as someone who volunteers to do extra work to be helpful to your colleagues, they are much more likely to be motivated to return the favor. Norms of reciprocity have been a universal in human history, across cultures and societies, and even in other species like primates and bats.
- Be transparent about your motivations and overcommunicate. Let others know that what you are asking them to do is in the organization's best interest, not just in your best interest. Therefore, make it clear that working together can accrue to everyone's benefit.