LEADERSHIP / FEB. 22, 2015
version 7, draft 7

How to be a Leader When It’s Not Part of Your Job Title

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Titles don’t make leaders. Leadership can be powerful at any level. It should therefore be no surprise that certain people in non-supervisory roles can move teams and individuals better than so-called “leaders”. This is because they can stand out for their ability to inspire others, show compassion to their colleagues’ problems, contribute meaningfully to their organisations and help them grow in difficult times.

Just because you don’t have a fancy title like “Line Manager” or “Managing Director”, it doesn’t mean you can’t create a positive change in your organisation and become a valuable asset for your organisation. Opportunities to lead abound. It’s up to you to be alert, proactive and act at the right time so as to make a strong impact on your organisation, no matter what your duties are at work.

See Also: The Big 5 Personality Traits of Leaders

Make the most of these steps to establish yourself as a leader even if it’s not part of your job description:

Connect Strategically

The extent to which companies allow their employees to empower their edge and promote innovative ideas depends on the culture inside the walls of organisations. Apparently, if the organizational culture is characterized by centrality, employees’ ability to tap expertise and share knowledge is restricted. This is where employees’ networking skills come in useful to make important connections with other departments, listen to their problems, exchange knowledge and explore potential areas of growth.

Allow others to shine

Toss out the image of the leader who loves making others feel good. Make the most of your emotional intelligence and contribute to your co-workers’ success by helping them link their actions to the goals. Acknowledge the contributions and needs of others. Share the credit for success and always include people who are typically overlooked in decision-making. Ask for their input and let them reflect on possible outcomes. Also, let them participate in the agenda-setting of a meeting and follow up with them after the meeting. Compliment their positive efforts in a genuine manner, and give them constructive criticism whenever necessary.

Improve a system or process

Being at the bottom of an organisation’s hierarchy gives you the advantage of evaluating the systems and processes that you use daily. It’s not improbable that your superiors don’t have the gut to identify opportunities for improvement. Review everyday processes at work and see whether there are any gaps or areas calling for streamlining. For example, are there any aspects of work that need to be automated? What practices are obsolete in your workflow and need to be readapted? Have you noticed duplicate efforts in different departments? Well, no matter of your rank, you can bring an air of change in your organisation and help redefine processes positively.

 Step out of your comfort zone

Being a leader comes at a cost. You should willingly do work outside of your job description, and take on your share of the grunt work.  You should volunteer for tasks that others are not willing to assume and go the extra mile to demonstrate how committed you are to the company’s mission. Act as a team-player and always be open to people by sharing information that helps others take the next step. Send them a link, a useful article, or a person’s contact information that is valuable for them. Being generous and thoughtful towards others requires some effort and time, but it pays back, as it is the key to your reputation as a key facilitator, team-member and leader.

Lead by Example

Become a source of inspiration as a leader by always adding positive energy in the workplace’s atmosphere. Show enthusiasm, and avoid spreading rumours , bad mouthing others for what they have done or complaining. These are not merely fundamental rules for being a nice person, they are also ingredients for strong leadership.

Become a go-to expert

Do you see any gaps in your organisation’s know-how? – Does your company lack a particular software program, a new training technique that would streamline its operations? If that’s the case, then it’s your turn to jump in and offer solutions in key areas where your organisation lacks certain expertise.

See Also: How to Understand the Difference Between Management and Leadership

Whether you are at the bottom or top of your organisation’s hierarchy (or somewhere in between), you can still leverage your leadership skills and move up where you deserve to be.  

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