How to gain authority

#38, Nov 24, 2023

Vasi is here 🙂

What does comfort mean to me?

Sunday night. Pizza for dinner. Watching ‘Tom and Jerry’ with my beloved partner and our (almost) 3-year-old son. Their laugh… ♡

Starting to write the next new dose is another thing that brings me comfort.

A little stop before the dose

My ritual between friends – Song of the dose

What’s the issue about?

How to gain authority in the eyes of your teammates, managers, and clients?

How do you get your opinion not only heard but proactively sought out by those people PLUS followed without question?

And all this happens even if you don’t have an official position of power.

Because you will have something much more valuable – the trust of these people.

I give you the principles and steps that Petya and Hari developed for our latest soft skills training ‘The Trusted Advisor’.

A story about a team leader without autonomy…

We received this case from a leader of a dev team for our ‘Call Radio Tochka 2’ short episodes (where I and Hari discuss real cases sent by listeners of our ‘Radio Tochka 2’ podcast).This is a shortened version of the case:

“For about a year I have been part of the team of a new foreign company in the Team Leader position. The feedback I get from the upper-level managers is more than good.

However, for many key topics and decisions, I do not have the ability to make autonomous decisions. I don’t have the autonomy to temporarily increase or decrease the workload – for myself and the team. I do not have the freedom to change the methodology of work. Any decision must be agreed upon with upper-level managers (requiring status updates weekly).”

I’ll be glad to hear your point of view, observations, and recommendations regarding “winning” greater independence and authority in a similar situation.

We think that you don’t need the official role and title to have freedom of action.

⛵️ The sailors don’t complain that the wind is against them. They just set the sails so the wind works for them, don’t they?

So, how to influence people without formally having control?

The short answer: By becoming a Trusted Advisor ⭐

The long answer: here ⤵️

The 3 Levels of Development

To reach the Trusted Advisor level you’ll go through 2 others before that.
Performer – looks for clarity to complete tasks
Problem Solver – understands the needs to solve problems
Trusted Advisor – gets the bigger picture to advise and guideAt the Trusted Advisor level, you know the other person’s needs, recognize their problems, and can give them advice.
You don’t wait to be given instructions. You challenge the other person. You guide them to get what they need, not what they want.

The 4 Elements of a Trusted Advisor

I’ve written How to build Cognitive Trust and Affective Trust in a previous dose <Why do we trust someone?>

Now. Let me tell you about the two other elements.

How to show understanding depth

  • Seek clarity – validate & paraphrase what they have said to confirm your understanding
  • Explore their interests & needs – go beyond what they request; ask questions on why they need it
  • Show you understand them – express your understanding with the intent for them to be sure
  • Have a long-term mindset – think outside of the current scope – understand their business & their problems

To understand the other person’s true needs, you must be able to reach the bottom of the iceberg:

How to provide guidance

  • Identify & communicate potential problems – anticipate problems & communicate them as early as possible
  • Share different solutions & your recommendation – provide different options for solving a problem, give details on the pros & cons, the risks & the outcomes
  • Express your opinion when it’s difficult – have the difficult conversations that involve risk and require you to challenge them or say things they don’t want to hear
  • Provide long-term partnership – seek to understand & act upon how you can be helpful beyond the current project

Different people need different guidance as Hari illustrated in a comic about delegation:

One final story

A CEO walks into the HR team’s room.

“Hi, team!”

Asks one HRBP a question…
“Okay, I’ll think about your suggestion. I’ll decide it later.”

Then he turns around. He goes to the desk of the other HRBP. Asking her a question on another topic…
“Okay, let’s do it as you suggest. I trust you.”

Big difference, right?

I have observed this several times in my previous team.

I wish you had conversations like the second one.

Titles-shmitles… Trust is the greatest power. Be a Trusted Advisor ⭐

Stay Healthy, my dear Pill-er!
– Vasi


I don’t shop on Black Fridays… 😀

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