You Can Lead Without Authority

PattiSimpsonMost of us don’t run an organization or company, we aren’t calling the shots, and we certainly aren’t signing the checks. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be leaders in our current positions. Here are some helpful tips to put you in a position to influence your peers, and even your supervisors.

1. See yourself as a leader. If you don’t have confidence in yourself or your abilities, you can’t assume anyone else will. Whatever task you are assigned, become an expert in it. Confidence often comes when you feel knowledgeable, and when you’re confident you command respect.

2. Having a network means you’re connected. A good manager appreciates when their subordinates have contacts that can help a project be successful. If you know someone at another organization or company that would provide a positive impact on the project you’re working on, speak up and let your supervisor know. There’s a good chance they’ll listen.

3. Don’t present problems. Present solutions. If you find yourself hitting roadblocks when working on a project, figure out the best way to work around it. When you let your supervisor know about the problem, you should already have a solution. It shows responsibility, creativity, and innovation – and puts your ideas and actions in the driver’s seat.

4. Act like you’ve been there before. There is always going to be a scenario in which you’ve never found yourself before. If you take charge and tackle the problem head on, without hesitation, individuals are much more likely to listen to you because you are the automatic “expert.”

5. It’s a game of pushing and pulling. Figure out how other people communicate. Some are influenced by being pulled into a situation through leading and involving while others are pushed through inquiring and proposing. Once you identify how an individual is influenced, you can adapt your approach to anyone to make them more likely to listen and follow you.

Use these five tips to get positive results. Peers will follow your lead and supervisors will notice the example you’re setting for others. If you’re driven and learn to read others, you don’t need a title to be a true leader.

Patricia Simpson is Director of Political and Career Programs at the Leadership Institute.

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