How to Lead Your Team Without Authority

Influence Them to Achieve the Tasks Instead of giving Commands.

A good leader knows how to lead a team to a destination without giving commands. This quality of leadership is rare, especially when we want to accomplish more with less people.


Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash

In my first job for non-for-profit organization, I scheduled maintenance for eight cars. Even though I was not their direct supervisor, I worked closely with the drivers. We tracked the mileage of these cars to schedule the maintenance. Soon I realized that I was not getting what I wanted because of the way I was requesting it.

It was a different story when I changed my tone. Instead of telling what to do, I gave the team a challenge. I told each driver that I wanted to see who would take good care of their cars and do the maintenance on time. What I did was giving them the choice of taking charge of the task. People will do more if you allow them to do it on their terms. To lead without authority; here is what you need to do.

Ask Leading Questions

How many times have you felt your manager was commanding you to get your job done? If you are like most employees, you have probably felt this way before. It does not have to be this way; leaders should influence us.

A good leader encourages and guides. They influence their followers to do the work without the feeling of being forced. So, what should you do as a leader to steer your team to the right direction?

Ask them questions that could lead them to what you want them to do. Instead of saying, “I want you to do task B to get the project completed.” You can say, “What can you do after task A to get the work done on this project?”

Know Which Team Member The Rest Listens to

In your high school years, who did you look up to in your sports or project teams? It was that cool kid that everybody wanted to be around. Guess what? That cool kid also exists at the workplace.

Who at your workplace does everyone want to be around? Who is that person that they always go to when they need advice? the chances are that there is one person who holds that personality in your team.

Find that person and share your idea with him or her. Once you sell your vision, the team follows what the person tells them. You may have most of what you need from your team with less effort.

Influence The Person They Listen to

Instead of trying to change each team member, why won’t you allow one of them to do that for you. It may take you some time to get to know everybody. Bringing each team member to a consensus would be difficult.

You may find different impressions from your team. To look nice, some will try to impress you within the first days. Others may shy and not try to impress you; those you may misunderstand.

Start small; work with the one you believe is an influencer. Allow that person to become your voice to the team until you build that relationship with each one of them. Be careful not to allow the person drive the wagon.

Find The Why and Explain it to Them

Lack of communication plays a significant role in team leadership. When team members do not get adequate information about what you request from them, it creates a problem.  They want to know what is going on.

Awareness gives them the motivation to carry out the activities needed of them. It gives each team member a chance to play a role that will help in fulfilling the bigger picture. You will also gain their feedback in the process.

You can call a weekly or bi-weekly team meeting depending on your need. You can also schedule one-to-one meetings to pass information and understand their needs. These sessions will build a healthy relationship.

Give Them The Problem Ownership

People will do what it takes to complete a project when they feel it is their ideas. Most of the times, leaders try to brand themselves instead of leading their teams to accomplish a goal. It does not help the situation at all.

How can the team perform at a high level if they do not feel the ownership? To function at a high capacity, the team member must feel that they own the task.

As a leader, you need to find a way that will amplify your team’s sense of ownership over your ideas. You can allow them to feel that the ideas are theirs. You can do that by giving them the tools they need and enabling them to take charge.

Question: What else could you do to lead a team successfully?

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