Factors That Determine a Manager’s Level of Authority

Published: Jul 20, 2018
Modified: May 20, 2020


Where does a manager’s authority in an organization come from? Officially, it is given to them by the company’s upper management. But real authority is granted to leaders from below. In fact, people can influence others and gain cooperation when they don’t have formal authority.

Here are five factors that determine how much authority you really hold over others:

Responsibility. The assurance with which you handle your work—not just the number of team members you have or the size of your budget—influences your degree of authority.

Performance. Top performers are given the most respect in an organization. Consequently, they have the ability to get things done.

Expertise. The better you know your job and stay on top of developments in your field, the more quickly other people will follow your lead.

Behavior. The way you behave and portray yourself can greatly influence the behavior of others. Ask yourself questions such as these: Do you behave in a positive way that attracts people to accept your authority? Do you present your ideas in an upbeat, optimistic manner? Do you introduce change as an opportunity to advance rather than a new setback to overcome?

Trust. Your team members, senior managers, and others must trust you and believe that you always operate in an open and honest manner.

As you work with others to achieve results, remember that these factors will influence the amount of clout you have in your organization.