Influence vs. Authority

There are two ways we can get people to do what we want or need them to do: because we have influence over them, or because we have authority over them. We can have influence without authority, and we can have authority without influence. Influence comes from respect, collaboration, and credibility. Authority comes from title and your position on the organizational chart.

If we focus on gaining influence, it will often not even matter if we have authority. We are still able to get the outcome we want. When we have influence, people will do what we want or need them to do, because they have chosen to work with us. If we simply focus on having authority, we will frequently get what we want, but for a different reason… because people have to.

Relationships built on influence, relationship, trust and credibility have a greater chance of enduring, especially through challenging situations. Professional relationships that rely exclusively on the chain of command and the organizational structure, will work most of the time, but may fall apart under duress.

This all comes back to one simple question: Do you want people to follow you because they want to or because they have to? If you said “because they want to” then think about building relationships based on trust, collaboration and credibility. Think about building influence.

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching and Training services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in clear and persuasive communication skills. To learn more, e-mail us at


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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.