Authority – Types and do you need it?

Who do you think of when you hear the word ‘Authority’, Steve jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., the pope, or even your boss? Or do you consider a position such as CEO, government or even law enforcement? To be honest, all of these can be considered authority, in their own fields. Being seen as or considered an Authority is a great honor and powerful title. Collin’s dictionary describes an Authority as “a person whose real or apparent authority over others inspires or demands obedience and emulation.”

There are many benefits to being considered an authority in a field, these being, that you are seen as more trustworthy, you feel less of a need to prove your arguments or beliefs, you inspire, people look up to you and a lot more. But how does one become an authority? There is so little covering this topic, so we’ve decided to give you the full 101 on Authority, to help you get started on that path of becoming an authority in your chosen field of work.

It wouldn’t be right if we jumped right into how to become an authority without giving you an explanation on the many aspects of authority, this will help you better understand where you may fit in.

The types of authority

There are 3 main types of Authorities:

The best in the class

These are the people who have reached the top of their field. They know it inside and out and would be known as a main figure in that field’s research or knowledge. Their experience and expertise are what got them there. A relevant example of this would be Dragon’s Den star Debra Meaden. She is well known for her sustainable and ethical business ways, when a pitcher has a sustainable business, they want Debra Meaden as she is one of the best in her class.

The simplifier

This is someone who takes difficult topics or concepts and makes them simpler for everyone to understand and comprehend, they still have expertise and know the industry inside and out but then take that and interpret that for the rest of us! A good example is youtuber Vsauce with 17.5 million subscribers, who takes difficult concepts related to science and explains them in a way that is universally understood.

The Innovator

These are the people who are always seeing problems and solutions, they are so invested in the market that they are constantly pushing for change to better it. They often appear “out there” but in the end, they are mostly always right. A good example is Elon Musk who has 18 patents that belong to 9 unique patent families. He is continually inventing and improving the field of technology.

Now that we have addressed the types of Authority, we can delve into how to grow our authority.

One common mistake people tend to do is to copy other people, they believe that “they must be doing something right to be an authority” while this holds truth, it is important to recognize that personality is key. Attracting an audience is so much easier through personality. Try to find something only you can provide, then sell that with your personality. This formula is critical for success and a sure way to set yourself as an authentic authority.

To become an authority there are a few approaches you can take to effectively get your name out there and grow, before you begin your plan, consider your audience. Are you appealing to middle aged, busy, working people? Or individuals with a lot more time on their hands? Age, occupation and schedules can help you adjust the type of content you will be sharing.

  • Posting on social media

Having a relevant social presence online is a brilliant way to be found and to keep your existing fans. Again, consider the type of audience, will you be posting short and sweet content for busy people who don’t have time to read long posts, or will it be long threads of valuable information for those with more time? We recommend branching out and having more than one social media, this means that you are spreading yourself out and means you have more of a likelihood of being found!

  • Strategic Promotion

One we stand by strongly. This is a faster and more effective way of meeting a large audience at once while letting them get to know you. Simply by being a guest on a Podcast for example. However, make sure you are spending time studying the Podcast and the audience so that you aren’t wasting your time appealing to the wrong group. Remember that this is a brilliant way to show your expertise while demonstrating your personality, which can set you apart!

  • Publishing your work

For example, if you are in the business field, keep posting your journals of research, articles, findings. While this may not be the most effective way of getting out there, this holds a lot of power and evidence for when people do find you. They’ll be able to have more insight into what you do. These can also be applied at a later date to your social media, for example, taking direct quotes and posting them or mentioning them on the Podcast.

So, there you have it. How will you know when you get there? When you search your name and you’re easily found in multiple ways, news sources, LinkedIn, articles. When you have a high following on social media like Twitter or Instagram with thousands of people engaging with your posts and using the sources without doubt. When you begin receiving promotions or career success, with coworkers or employees taking on your advice. These are the sure ways of confirmation that you’ve made it or are at least on the right path.

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Natasha Moffet
April 15, 2022