Leading without Authority

Leading / influencing without authority, is the skill of achieving influence/sway/direction over a decision/project/activity that you are not the authority over. This is useful when managing up, or working with peers, and when you actually do have authority.

Understand before influencing 1:

  1. understand the culture and context of the organization -> Seek First to Understand
  2. Know the degrees of separation (measure of social distance between people). The farther you are from someone, the harder it is to influence.

Ways to influence without authority 1:

  1. Psychologist: Understand the motivations and context of who you’re trying to influence & then working backwards to reach an outcome.
  2. Pitcher: Constantly exploring and trying different ways of framing ideas that you want to influence.
  3. Activist: Creating large movements by regularly sharing stories, perspectives and facts.


Tse, M. & Rubick, J. How to influence without authority. at https://medium.com/atlassian-product-management-blog/how-to-influence-without-authority-4622ad7d52c9 (2020).

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