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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How to get a YES when you ask for promotion

I used to wait to be asked, now I ask to be promoted.  This has taken a huge mental and skill shift to take this approach. Some people around you may say this lacks integrity but how is waiting to be ‘discovered’ and holding yourself back, lacking integrity ?

People who want a recording contract – perform, compete on a talent show, run YouTube channels and busk.

People wanting a promotion do not wait, they stand out and they ask.

Timing

Ask when promotion, new jobs and opportunities are available. If there is a lull in available jobs, practice the following skills and techniques to boost your chance of the being no. 1 pick when jobs do come up again.

Credibility

Know your business case and know your ask  and work on making this visible to the ‘powers that be’.

Be the Obvious Choice

The right role is the easiest role – apply for and show interest in the roles that most easily match your ambition, skill sets and connections.

Visibility

Make your work visible and in demand (I will write more on this next month but for now, I have included some tips at the end of this post).

We want you!

Make your future leadership team and peers want you on their team!!

You know the ‘vibe’ is good when you start hearing things from senior management like:

“How do I find the right role for you, so you say yes”

“I NEED you on my team”

“We’re so glad you’re here”

“You’re wasted in that role, you should be doing XYZ role”

“They really have great THINGS to say about you”

Advocate

Find someone to advocate for you who is on hiring and promotion panels. This person could be influential with a potential sponsor or may hire directly as well.

In a hiring decision, who will recommend you if asked to provide an opinion on you?

Sponsor

Find someone that you would like to work for and talk to them about your ambitions. Apply for roles working with them and keep yourself and your work visible to this potential sponsor.

Who wants you on their team right now?

Influence

Make your ambition visible and known to people who are influential with hiring managers but may not be in formal positions of power. Talk through your business case and pitch and ask them for advice. Ask for help to gain a promotion.

What role do people see you in next?

Increase your visibility through celebration!

Celebrate successes and draw people into your success.

Celebrate team successes frequently and invite advocates and sponsors to these events.

Create a winning vibe !

Persevere!

Keep asking.

Keep asking.

Keep asking.

Repeat until you have it! (And then start working towards your next one!!)

 

Now I’d love to hear from you, how have you got a YES when you’ve asked for promotion ?

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