Seeking Advice on “influencing without authority

I’m an aspiring PM that’s started to handle some PM responsibilities. One thing I’m struggling on is influencing without authority. This is especially difficult for me when I’m dealing with the other stakeholder’s manager.

Appreciate any advice on getting better at this. Thanks in advance.


Easiest way for me is to be data driven. It’s really hard to argue a decision/direction etc… when it’s backed up by more than your opinion vs someone else’s.

Beyond that, it’s all just about network and relationship management. Learn what their pain points are, be authentic about when you can’t do what they want, and find ways to still be looking out after their best interests even when you have to say no, and you’ll earn their respect.


@PriyaVarma, This is basically a perfect answer.

It’s also important to note that influencing others is far more powerful than instructing/commanding them. Sure it takes a little longer, but taking the time to take others on your journey and inspiring them with the vision will pay dividends for a very long time.


It works well to put this in terms of “sharing my research/analysis and the conclusions it’s led me to draw.”


100% this - and —- it very much helps to have a clear vision that people can get behind. Being a strategic leader who can help guide the organization from where it is to where it wants to be… can build you influence. Taking the time to ensure your stakeholders have a part in building that vision and taking them along, can build trust quickly.


This is it.

There’s just three things

  1. Use data to get your point across
  2. Really understand their motivation , working style
  3. Build a strong relationship (wherever possible) it’s easier to influence a group of friends vs a group of colleagues

This, and I’d add that once you start demonstrating that you can contribute to solving their problems, they start to see you as an expert authority.


I came here to agree with these people. Gather the right data and use it to visualize their choices.

When you get to negotiate look you the book, “never split the difference”.

“Radical Candor” is another good one.


100%. One pointer on getting the data, quantitative data is helpful but talking to customers and validating your hypothesis is also invaluable. I say create a research plan and go talk to users no matter how hard it is. Send interview summaries and updates to everyone across the org. It really helps build buy in.


Meet people where they are and speak their language. Being data-driven doesn’t always work. It only works with people who value data. You have to understand the environment and figure out people’s motivations and communication styles in order to handle them accordingly.


Having worked in a very politics driven org. Data might create enemies, especially if they basically just story that they and their department are so great at X, Y and Z and you come with data that shows something else.


@DonovanOkang, Also, sometimes you may have the “wrong” data and not know it. People often assume that all data is objective, but it’s not. A lot of it is open to interpretation, outdated, difficult to comprehend, not relevant to your colleague/stakeholder, etc. which is why just relying on being data-driven doesn’t always work.


I know. I’m good with data and usually my problems starts ones I start analyzing the current data that shows all is perfect.

I’ll just mention one story.

Product had 90% of the target users world wide (10.000) visiting daily. Turned out that all 90% came within the same hour every day from the same IP addr which was located in the same Indian city as the test department. If you counted that came back after the first visit it dropped to a handful and we only counted 1 that had been logged more than few times over the last year. We also interviewed that user and the findings were not pretty.

However there was a lot of consultants making a lot of money on building this “product” and a boss with growing power due to capture of 90% of the target audience.

My findings didn’t go down well. So be careful with data that points to problems.



At some point you’re working towards a common goal within the company/organization - more users, more money, etc. Your product or project is going to help facilitate those goals (obviously, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it). Your job then is to relate the project/product goals/principles back to the shared goal. “If we can launch this together, we can increase daily active users by 30%.”

This works really well for motivated stakeholders, however some people don’t really care about the company’s goal or mission.

If you’re talking about your direct working group (ex. engineers), help explain what you need and why you need it: “We need to do X so we can move ahead on Y.” When possible, give them the opportunity to determine “how” they do something: “I need your help with X, I’ll let you figure out the best way to do it since you’re the expert.”

Through this you’ll eventually build up enough trust that you can go back to using your conversational short-hand (“please do X, Y and Z, thank you”), but you’re not there yet in your relationships.


@Michael, 100% agree, learn the tools your team is using, and be a SME, and that’s how you influence. Stay away from authority, instead influence, and provide space for others to be creative.


Develop a genuine love for the people you work with. Take extra time to talk about their frustrations and position yourself as an ally that is interested in addressing them.

I feel like every other piece of advice you can get just stems from a lack of the above. When people like you and feel like you have their back, they’ll do things for you. They’ll even do unreasonable things for you after enough time lol. Which you will need you’re asked for unreasonable things.

Also if you can’t understand why a stakeholder is acting ridiculous, take it as a sign that you don’t understand the problem enough. You should only have like one genuinely crazy person on a project- the rest are just bad at articulating their needs.


@Eva, To build on this, understand others motivations inside and outside of work and do your best to account for them in the course of your shared efforts.
It also doesn’t hurt to pay attention to who has influence on what settings and account for that when consensus building

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Human psychology. Outside of the office. Who do you respect?

People with knowledge. People with confidence. Both traits compliment each other.

How you do it, data, good communication, peer pressure, up to you. We’re all humans , humans with titles.

Influencing is easy once you understand their interests. It’s really hard for someone to disagree with you when you are working towards something that is in their interests.

Using influence to have impact is about finding the mutually beneficial areas to work on and focusing your execution on those.