As a business owner, your authority matters. Authority can be measured any number of ways: by social influence, number of website visits, or standing in a particular niche or industry. Authors and speakers are deemed authoritative. And, with authority comes influence.
We live in an online-driven world where some individuals seem to have been assigned authority and command it by virtue of some arbitrary measurements. That’s not an accurate perception. Actually, authority is earned through a much different path.
Ultimately, authority is gained by how you relate to communities, as well as how you serve and add value. It’s not about being expert in a world that has no more subjects left to master. It’s about projecting a signal that’s clear, true, and consistent.
In a time where our reality is increasingly dictated by screens instead of people and experiences, I believe you command authority not by assigning it to yourself, but by practicing the following five habits.
- Share Your Opinion - And Stand By It. Instead of picking up on the latest trend or finding a niche that seems wanting, you command authority by having and sharing a point of view that you believe is true and worth holding on to.
This can be your view on work or life -- or simply your advice to a client. It’s okay to take an authoritative stand if you believe, practice, and perfect it.
- Learn from Others. People who want to command authority often strive to be seen as the teacher. In reality, your authority comes from your ability to learn from others.
Your ability to relate to and add to a community comes from spending a great deal of time as the most inexperienced person in the room. Keep your ego in check, and understand that everyone else in your community is bringing something valuable too.
- Expand Your Views. People who gain some little measure of authority often try to cling to it by surrounding themselves with people and information that only support what they already believe.
You command authority by exploring new ideas and intentionally stretching your level of comfort. This allows you continued growth and to revolutionize your own views.
- Expect a Response. If you share and hold on to opinions that matter and you do so without trying to please others, you should expect people to respond and should be prepared to nurture and grow that response into a community.
In fact, when you have authority, you have a responsibility to deal with the positive and negative responses that come from how you relate to communities.
- Gain Trust through Vulnerability. One of the ways you command authority is to show the world you don’t need it. Show your community that you can be as silly, frightened, confused, and happy as they are.
This is a scary one for most leaders, but know that you don’t have to always have the answer. Authoritative people have the confidence to allow others to see them, even when they aren’t the most knowledgeable in an area. This helps make them relatable and trustworthy -- two important ingredients of gaining authority and influence.