How Do You Lead When You’re Not in Charge?

We’ve all started from the bottom. Some people want leadership positions because of the benefits of a higher salary, authority and power. But, there are many competent people in leadership positions who are not leaders; they’re bosses.

A question I get asked often is: How do you lead when you’re not in charge?

Opportunities to lead when you’re not in charge are abundant. As a leader, you want people who step up and lead; people who can take some of the work off your plate. These are the type of people all leaders want on their teams; people who turn shit into sugar.

With that said, how do you lead when you’re not in charge?

First, a title doesn’t make you a leader. What does? Your example; it all starts with that.

The example you want to set is about being of value, resourceful, having a great attitude, helping others and getting things done. Now, opportunities for you to lead are plenty. Here are some clues…

Find a situation when no one is stepping up? A situation when a leader is asking people to step up and no one does? A situation where you see the need to act and no one has noticed it yet? Your manager told you about a challenge that needs leadership but he / she has their hands full?

These are all opportunities for you to step up and lead. How? Ask: how can I help?

Also, want to have an inside track on leadership opportunities? Talk to your manager about what challenges he / she is currently having, ask how you can I help. This is a great way to get opportunities to lead!

Bottom line: People who make an impact do the job that’s needed, step up and lead, adapt, finish strong and make work easy for others. When you’re not in charge of anyone, you’re in charge of yourself; start there. Go in everyday with the mindset to do your job the best you can. Have discipline and be accountable for yourself. Step up when no one else does or won’t 👊