leader at work

How to be a leader at work even when you are not the Boss

You want people to follow without push back? Don’t let them tell you how to lead. Use their input, but realize ultimately you’re the leader. This happens all the time. No one made Martin Luther King the boss. He just started to lead people, and they followed.

“Every day you are interviewing for your next merit increase or possible promotion. Employing your leadership skills in the right manner—from a subordinate position—benefits the entire team, lessens your boss’ burden, and shows you’re ready for the next step.”

Here are few tips on how to be a leader at work even when you are not the boss:

1. Take responsibility
If you’re not the boss, this is extra important. The people you’re trying to lead will respect you more if you take responsibility for your actions, and are likely to keep following.

2. Be flexible
Things are not always going to go according to plan. Sometimes disasters happen. You need to roll with the punches and be able to adapt. You’re not the boss, and usually, when things go wrong, people need a leader the most. This is a great way to be viewed as a leader without being the boss.

3. Help people
It’s important that you help people and offer your services, even if they don’t need it. It’s a great way to show them that you’re interested in their success and want to help. If you help them, they’re also more likely to help you.

4. Be an effective communicator
When you’re not the boss, you can’t just hand instructions down. You need to communicate with people as their equal. It’s vital to offer constant feedback, and more importantly, to accept it. Good leaders know how to talk, and more importantly, what to say.

“Good leaders know how to talk, and more importantly, what to say”

5. Be your boss’ right-hand man or woman.
This isn’t acting as an assistant to your boss. Instead, this means you should learn from your boss by observing by his or her side. Understand how they operate and what they need in different situations.

6. Take initiatives
A leader doesn’t always ask for permission. Examples of those great opportunities include sending a client or vendor a thank you note, meeting prospects, or creating new engagement on social media channels, etc.

“Leading doesn’t require followers.”

Ultimately being a leader when you’re not the boss can be a little more difficult than if you were the boss. However, good leadership is good leadership no matter what your title. Like you read at the top, some of the world’s greatest leaders were not appointed; they were given titles because they were leaders first.


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