how to lead a team without authority

how to lead a team without authority

how to lead a team without authority- Five Strategies to Help You Manage Well Without Authority While Successfully Influencing Your Team

Helen approached me with concerns regarding a new project she had been tasked with overseeing.

She would be accountable for the success of her teams for the new project, but she was worried about how to keep individual members engaged because they would not be reporting to her directly.


“I’m not in charge of their careers,” she said. “I’m not accountable for their performance beyond the project results, therefore I’m not motivated by the typical concerns or promises of promotions. I’m not sure how I’m going to make this work “she said.


My client’s description of the issue is common. Today, a growing number of businesses utilize the matrix management approach to manage workers with several reporting lines or across business units. Under these conditions, team leaders are accountable for team performance in project results but have no additional power. The underlying difficulty, like in Sandra’s case, is engaging and motivating workers who report to someone else.


As I write in my book, “The New Global Manager,” you must achieve your goal via collaboration. This is spoken in a variety of ways. They tell you that you must “make your figures,” “hit your targets,” or “reach your objectives.” You must accomplish it via your team, no matter how you explain it. As a result, you must assist those on your team in growing and succeeding. Great managers have always been mentors and coaches. They are always searching for methods to assist their team members in performing better in their current position and preparing them for their future step.


“Leadership without authority” is a new idea that is gaining popularity in social, intellectual, and commercial circles, says Russ Banham. “In fact, if you put those three phrases into Google, you’ll get over 6.5 million results. There is a shelf of literature on the topic, and classes are even given to attain its charms. Not only that, but groups as varied as the American Chemical Society and the National Center for Cultural Competence have advocated for leadership without power “He continues.


How do you lead when you don’t have authority?
“The aim of leadership without power is to encourage people to collaborate and participate voluntarily, rather than just obeying instructions because you’re the boss,” says Carol Kinsey Goman. “This new leadership style is a synthesis of personal and interpersonal abilities that serve as the foundation for a leader’s capacity to affect, influence, and inspire others.”


As I emphasized to Sandra, it is perfectly feasible to manage effectively without authority—and people do it all the time these days. We all have varying degrees of power in our jobs. Some have influence because of their position, while others have power because of their skills or resources. And by cultivating good connections, anybody may gain power. Relationships are critical to the success of Sandra’s endeavor in circumstances like hers. Sandra was given the five techniques listed below to assist her manage her project team.


Five methods for managing without authority
1. First and foremost, you must understand what drives the team. What drives each team member’s desire to succeed? One may be motivated by the prospect of earning more money, while another is thrilled to be able to contribute. Are your team members’ incentives intrinsic, meaning they will behave because it is personally gratifying, or extrinsic? “When we are driven to execute an action or participate in an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment, this is known as extrinsic motivation,” says Kendra Cherry.


2. Increase your team’s exposure. Discuss what your team members are doing with the managers who are in charge of their careers. Find methods to openly support and appreciate the team. Advocate for them and assist in increasing their exposure across the business.


3. Hold first talks with the team. Set expectations for communication channels, including how you will interact with one another and how the team will communicate with you. Explain what hours you anticipate they will be accessible and how they will contact you. Be clear about the kind of information you expect to get from them and how often you expect to hear from them. Make it obvious that you are committed to maintaining open lines of communication at all times.

4. Define your team’s roles and duties. Take the time to clearly express what you anticipate from each of them, and connect those expectations to the motivators you’ve established will be successful for each individual. By establishing clearly defined roles and duties, you reduce the possibility of duplication of work or dissatisfaction among the many individuals you manage on the project.

5. Make it clear to the team from the start that you are ready to support their image and brand. Be open and honest. Let them know that you will nurture, network, and generally assist them, so they realize they are not operating in a vacuum. Remind them that just because they are not reporting to their boss for this project does not imply that there is no company-wide visibility, organizational visibility, or risk to their reputation. Help them realize that their conduct and performance in this project may and will have an effect on them in the broader business context, both favorably and adversely.

Sandra used these techniques in her work on the new project and was able to establish meaningful connections with all of her team members. She stated that they were approaching completion and that they expected to meet the majority of the project’s objectives. She was also happy to note that she had already aided in the advancement of many of her team members’ professional objectives, which she felt very good about.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Consider the following scenario: You have been assigned to manage a project inside your company, albeit in an unofficial role.

Technically, you are not a leader, but you have been assigned management duties such as establishing a budget, creating a timetable, and managing and organizing a team. You should be OK as long as everyone else follows suit. But it may be a tall order.

While your coworkers may not be deliberately attempting to sabotage your success, their objectives will naturally coincide with those who have power over them and their jobs—their superiors. Without a position of power, your goals are likely to be pushed aside in favor of everything else on your team’s plate, frequently to the cost of your initiative.

Does this ring a bell? If so, you realize how tough it can be to lead when you lack authority. Even if you don’t have a professional title that demands respect, there are measures you can do to develop your leadership abilities and become more effective at influencing people around you.

While a management title is one of the most visible forms of authority for working professionals, it is not the sole source of influence. There are many forms of authority you may use to encourage people to follow your example. Among the most significant of them are:

1. Your Knowledge
If you want or need to influence people in your company and encourage them to listen to you, developing knowledge in your subject, industry, or both is one of the most reliable ways. This enables you to establish oneself as an authority and a resource. Using your knowledge to back up your suggestions, plans, or initiatives may give you a sense of authority and persuade people that you really understand what you’re talking about.

It may also pay to stand out: the more distinct your skill set and expertise are from those of your colleagues, the more valuable your ideas are likely to be.

In summary, expertise means that you are so knowledgeable that others want to listen to you even if they don’t have to.

Do you want to be regarded as an expert? The first stage is to expand your knowledge and abilities to the point where you have a thorough understanding of the subject matter and can talk about it when required. However, it is not only important to know what you know; you must also ensure that others know what you know. Earning a certification or taking a course on that topic may also help you communicate your knowledge.

Related: How to Be a Successful Leader at Any Stage of Your Career

2. Your Personal Relationships
An successful leader, regardless of job title, knows that connections may be a strong tool for influencing others.

When you establish genuine, meaningful connections with your coworkers, you may gain their trust and understand their personal and professional motives, putting you in a stronger position to persuade them to follow your lead. People are more likely to listen to you and assist you in reaching your objectives if they see you as a person, not simply a coworker, and if they think you would do the same for them if given the chance.

Do you want to improve your connections with your coworkers? Your best option is to concentrate on improving your emotional intelligence, a soft talent that is at the heart of all successful management. Emotional intelligence, in general, refers to your capacity to comprehend and control your own emotions, as well as identify and manage the emotions of others around you. Taking the time to really get to know the individuals with whom you work may make the difference between a possible ally who wants to see you succeed and someone who is unconcerned about your success or failure.

Added a new call-to-action
3. Your Corporate and Organizational Knowledge
Just as having knowledge in your specific field or area may help you gain authority as an expert, having a comprehensive grasp of how your company works provides another source of authority to draw on. This authority comes not from your understanding of the industry as a whole, but rather from the inner workings of your company.

Most businesses, particularly bigger or more established ones, have certain procedures in place to complete tasks. People will naturally want to hitch their wagon to yours if you are the one who understands how to get things done, go through the process properly, and obtain signoff on important projects, initiatives, or resource allocation.

Similarly, if you can connect your project to an important strategic effort inside your company, you may find it simpler to persuade others to follow your example since they will want to share the credit for a job well done.

Do you want to improve your organizational knowledge? Because of the way most companies operate, this is likely to take some time. Attend as many meetings as possible, whether or not they are relevant to your department or position, build connections with key individuals from other departments, study corporate strategy documents, or locate a mentor. The more you learn about how your company works, the better.

Even if you do not occupy a position of power, there are numerous different techniques and strategies you may employ to influence your company.

Someone who works in an organization’s accounting or finance department, for example, may have enormous power over a project during the budgeting and planning phases, when resources are allotted. Similarly, human resources, as gatekeepers throughout the recruiting process, may have enormous power and influence over a variety of initiatives and departments.

Understanding your unique position allows you to discover the main ways in which you can influence the company, effect meaningful change, and achieve your goals.


These strategies may not always be enough to persuade others to follow your example. While it is usually preferable to tackle this issue on your own, it may be necessary in certain instances to ask your supervisor to step in and make it plain to everyone else that you have been charged with leading the project and that they should assist you to the best of their abilities.

Another option, particularly if you are often entrusted with managing projects in an unofficial role, is to persuade your boss to change your title. Aside from the professional boost this may provide your career, the appropriate title will imply to others that you have at least some degree of control over them. It makes no difference whether they want to follow your example; they must.

This is known as positional authority, and it may be very effective.

Leadership Principles – Unleash your potential as a leader. Find out more.
Not sure how to persuade your boss that you deserve a title change or that such a move will help you be more successful in your current position? Developing your leadership abilities via a course or obtaining a relevant certification may help you show that you are serious about your profession. Simultaneously, you will study leadership concepts and acquire important insights and skills that you may use to become a more successful leader.

Ways To Influence Without Authority

“How can I keep someone responsible who does not report to me?” I am asked nearly regularly. Even if you are unable to compel compliance, you may get passionate collaboration. Here are eight ways you can — and why they are preferable than simple compliance.

1) Stop yearning for power: If you believe that becoming someone’s boss would make things simpler, think again. Take someone who manages people out to lunch and ask them what it’s like to be able to tell people what to do. When they stop laughing, they’ll most likely tell you that it’s much more difficult in management.

2) Go beyond compliance: Managers can achieve conformity, but successful managers bark instructions only as a last option. Consider the greatest boss you’ve ever had… They weren’t in your face all that much. Rather, they most likely created an atmosphere in which you want to behave. That should be your ultimate aim.

3) Concern: If your only knowledge of the other party is what they can do for you, you’re missing the basis of influence. We are all human, and most of us pay attention to people who show an interest in us. Find out what they love doing outside of work and inquire about it. Show that you care — and that you mean it.

4) Offer to assist: Almost every successful team I’ve worked with values influence above authority. Begin by devoting one additional hour each week to assisting those who are facing a deadline. Do it for a while – and show that you are a team player. People will assist you if you have already helped them.

5) Establish expectations: Just because you aren’t the boss doesn’t mean you can’t make deals. Approach individuals before a catastrophe occurs. Tell them what you need and how long it will take. Be realistic about your commitments (nobody likes a bait-and-switch). Inquire about how you can make things simpler. Make it helpful to them as well.

6) Thank people in public: When someone goes out of their way to assist you, thank them. Mention it at the next staff meeting, or thank them in an email to which their manager/team is copied. People notice because almost no one takes the time to do this really.

7) Be genuine: There have been occasions in my career when I contacted a colleague and stated, “I need your assistance.” It will take time, will bore you to tears, will never improve your career, and you will get nothing except my gratitude. Interested?” We typically get a chuckle out of it. People like candor – as well as a sense of humour.

8) Swim with top teams: I know there’s that one jerk who won’t assist you even if you do everything else. Engage them when necessary, but spend genuine time with individuals who care about and want to advance in their professions. You’ll help each other out.