You can Lead without being the Boss

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are your immediate supervisor, and other times they are the person who takes action while everyone around them remains silent.

Chances are, you are not a CEO, a General, or a politician, but that does not mean you are not a leader. Fancy job titles are not what gives you the power to lead.

Here are some ways you can show leadership without authority.

Be creative

Make it your goal to be more innovative in the workplace. There are always ways your organization can improve. Perhaps something makes your job more stressful than it needs to be and you can find an alternative, or maybe there is a tactic other organizations use you can try. Sometimes the leader is merely the first person who shows up and takes action.

For example, the Leadership Institute is consistently looking for ways to improve the quality of its trainings. This means that there’s always scope for staff to propose new trainings or adjustments to existing ones.

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Be a problem solver

You weren’t hired to see problems and report them; you were hired to create solutions. If you identify a problem, before you go to your boss try to come up with a few ideas to fix it. Even if your ideas aren’t accepted, you’ll be known as someone who makes life easier on higher-ups.

For example, if you’re running an event and a crucial component such as the venue falls through at the last minute, stop, take a breath, and start to list some potential alternatives you can contact. Take that list you your boss rather than running into their office panicking.

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Become the go-to person

I bet you can think of someone in your office who you would immediately turn to for advice. There may be several people depending on the issue. Why don’t you become that person? Figure out where your comparative advantage lies and offer to help people. Leaders are those who others turn to in a crisis.

For example, it may be something really simple like being able to Mail Merge, or perhaps you are well connected and can put people in touch with each other.

Communication, communication, communication

Good leaders communicate effectively. Think about it, how can people follow your lead if they don’t have any idea what you’re telling them to do? However, it’s also a two-way street, good leaders are also good listeners. You are not all-knowing, and being able to identify who knows more than you, and acting on their advice is critical.

Be decisive

In a healthy work environment, the status quo is challenged from time to time. Likewise, any new ideas are held up to scrutiny before implementation. But if you’re confident in your ideas and way of working, you should be prepared to follow through on decisions and have courage in your conviction. Don’t back down at the first hurdle.

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Remember, you can be a leader without authority. Likewise, there are plenty of people in authority who aren’t leaders. By taking the initiative, acting as well as talking, and having confidence in your abilities, you will show leadership in your organization.