How to Influence Others Without Positional Power

More companies across the civil engineering industry are implementing flatter management structures. Thus, the ability to influence others without relying on positional authority is an important skill for managers to learn.

Outsourcing and virtual teams further challenge those tapped to lead projects. But how do you lead people whom you have no formal authority over?

In this episode of “ASCE Interchange,” Carol Martsolf, vice president and director of training at Urban Engineers, discusses how you can exert influence without authority and how it benefits civil engineering teams.

Although it may seem difficult, it’s possible to lead without being authoritative. A command-and-control leadership approach – “I lead, you follow” – is ineffective in most business situations.

Martsolf believes that a true leader instead creates an atmosphere of trust and a positive work environment. This is done when positional power is not used too frequently. “If you’re constantly using your positional power to order people around, it doesn’t empower the people [who] report to you,” she said.

Martsolf also talks about the one time you should use your positional power.


To view all “Interchange” episodes, visit ASCE’s YouTube channel.

“ASCE Interchange” is brought to you by Contech Engineered Solutions, a leading provider of site solutions for the civil engineering industry. Contech’s portfolio includes bridges, drainage, erosion control, retaining wall, sanitary, stormwater and wastewater treatment products. For more info, visit or call 800-338-1122.

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -