Leading when you don’t have the direct status or power to lead

Being an influencer sounds cool but in a big organisation its easy to get lost and feel like you’re a nobody.

To thrive you will need to adopt a customer focus centred on relationships, build trust and credibility through small wins, practice patience and perseverance

I work in a role where I need to lead change, coach people in agile testing strategies and get agreement from very senior manager across business and technology teams. I have no direct power, no direct reports yet I’ve been successful by focussing on small wins, persistence and always being visible.  Its definitely tricky and not always good for the ego (especially when I’m used to running large team when that explicit power in just therein the role.)  I think its made me a better advocate for change though because I always need to be humble and demonstrate that I’ve heard what my stakeholders want, not just put my opinion over the top.  Its a style I hope to use whether I’m in an influencing role or manager role in future.

If you are in an influencer role, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for helping you overcome the power dynamic and build indirect power through your relationships.

Key Learning Points

  • Accept that you don’t have direct power
  • Understand that your style will have to change to adapt to this
  • Relationships are now a focus
  • Be easy to deal with
  • Focus on being a positive and fun force for driving change
  • Build credibility
  • Patience is the key, along with being a consistent presence and contributor
  • Focus on goals not expectations
  • Ask, don’t tell

Be visible, approachable and easy to work with.

 

Prompts

Use the prompts to help ask great questions and find out more information when meeting with your team:

  • What relationships are key to getting decisions made?
  • Who are my key influencers?
  • What type of communication works best with my stakeholders?
  • Who are the best influencers in the organisation? What works for them? Can I pick up their style ?
  • What areas do I need to change in my style?
  • How quickly can I work on my projects when it is just me?
  • What will build credibility the easiest?
  • What is the the path of least resistance?
  • What small wins can I get quickly that will help build my credibility?
  • Who can best mentor and advise me?
  • What assumptions do I have?  How can I test these?
  • What can help me be more patient?

 

Where can you be more patient? What will you do today to create great relationships?

I’d love to hear from you, what will you do today to create great relationships? 

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Beatrice’s Equality Day Dreams #5 – Making an important career decision is so easy

Can I be honest with you? I’m beginning to think my day dreams maybe a bit cynical.  When I read over this day dream that I wrote 5 months ago, it was part of a list of things I wish the workplace was vs wasn’t.

It shouldn’t be a dream that we are supported and progression is easy if we are ambitious and competent.  While writing my book and starting my life coaching business, every woman I have spoken to has talked about the challenge of finding out information on how to progress.

At work, a colleague came up to me (after reading my blog) and admitted she didn’t know that she was supposed to ask.  She has recently started working in Australia and asking wasn’t the custom in her previous country and in fact it might even have been deemed rude to ask.  People progressed once they met a benchmark and their manager would ask if they wanted to go up a level or take on a new role.

If you’re a manager, how transparent is it to your team how they progress? Are you over looking someone because they haven’t told you what they are interested in?  And, are you being overlooked because you are not asking?

One more story, recently a senior manager let me know that a role was available in his team and talked me through a series of names and I gave my thoughts.   I added an extra name to the list and we both agreed she’d be great for the role if she was interested.  In my gut, I thought she probably wasn’t.   Later, I asked her if she would be and let her know the role was available.  She surprised me by saying she was interested. So I said, “call him NOW and let him know NOW”.  She waited 5 days to speak to him (after another prompt from myself) and she missed out on the role.   The senior manager made a decision in 3 days.

If you hear of a role and you are interested, let the hiring manager know  straight away.  Don’t hesitate or let other work get in the way.

Just ask.

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