You Have Authority, But Do You Have Influence?

Our day-to-day lives, institutions, and business establishments are filled with job titles and positions. He’s a VP.  She’s the head of. He’s the Marketing Director over.  And so on.

All of these titles are meant to extend authority so that the person who has it can carry out successfully, their given responsibilities.  And I admit, in my father’s world, authority could be given by titles assigned, and sometimes even assumed.  And people would comply, obey and get in line.  But this is no longer my father’s world.  It’s a brand new, wall-less, wireless, worn-out world.

The question today is not, do you have a title, authority, position, a degree, or a certificate? The question is, do you have influence? Influence is that intangible quality that leaders at all levels acquire over time as a result of performance and caring.

It used to be enough to perform at a certain level.  Caring was not considered to be business and in some cases, even bad business.  But that is not the world in which we live.  We live in a world where authority is scorned, where rules are ignored, and influence is a compelling power that moves us forward to the goal.

If you’re in a job or a position, or have a company, and you have titles to go along with it, and yet it seems as though you’re trying to herd cats, instead of leading people to a certain destination, maybe the problem is not your product, service, or industry.  Maybe it’s that those who have authority haven’t earned influence by adding the second component.  And that’s caring.

I heard someone say years ago that no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. That may be a cliche, easily dismissed ten or even fifteen years ago, but not now.  We want to know if you care.  We want to see if you have heart, not only for the task at hand, but for those who are assigned a task, or responsibility to complete those tasks with excellence.

Remember.  Just because you have authority doesn’t mean you have influence.

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