Build Relationships and Credibility to Lead Beyond Your Authority

Lead-Beyond-Authority-Build-RelationshipsDo you show genuine interest in people, and regularly communicate how much they’re valued? If so, you’re on the right track to lead beyond your authority.

It’s no secret: influence—the foundation of leadership—is founded on relationships. And people-focused leaders enjoy the greatest professional success. 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.

The most successful leaders show genuine interest in people, and make it a priority to regularly communicate how much they’re valued. This 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.

You see, 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.

These relationships 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.

Your Track Record

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. Think of all the great leaders who were, and are, able to see things objectively—and realistically. They engender 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, how’s your track record? Are you people-focused, showing a genuine interest in others? Are you building credibility? I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call, 704-827-4474. Or, you can reach me here and on LinkedIn.

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