Secrets to Leading Without Position or Authority

Yesterday, I asked an upper-level manager at one of the world’s largest organization how he’d risen through the ranks so rapidly – he lit up and talked collaboration.

He’s succeeding because he
influences people he can’t boss.

Leaders influence without position, title, or rank; they invite loyalty, passion, and commitment. They don’t coerce, pressure, or demand. Begin influencing when you don’t have authority by:

  1. Asking.
  2. Listening.
  3. Learning.
  4. Understanding.
  5. Explaining.
  6. Know what makes people tick.
  7. ???


  1. Telling.
  2. Pressuring.
  3. Demanding.
  4. ???

More on leading without direct-line authority:


Belief isn’t just for religious folks;
it’s what great leaders do.

My friend said, “You have to believe.” Believe in the organization as a whole and the project, specifically. Belief fuels everyone’s passion.”

Believe in:

  1. The value you’re bringing, most importantly.
  2. The values, mission, and vision of your company. Buy it!
  3. The people you’re working with. Trust them.
  4. The value of your project. It matters.
  5. ???


“We don’t want to send product back and our supplies don’t want to take it back. It’s expensive. I started giving our suppliers weekly feedback rather than quarterly or semiannually. Now less of their product is rejected. In one case, we cut returns back by 50%. That saved us over 9 million dollars in one year. Everyone wins.”

You can’t win apart from consistent feedback, period.


“Show them how the project adds value.”

If you want people on your team,
make life better for them.

  1. Make work easier by creating simplicity and efficiency.
  2. Deliver better product.
  3. Increase profitability.
  4. ???


I saw humility in him so I brought it up. Collaborators don’t need the spotlight they give it. “When projects are successfully completed, top billing goes to others on the team.”

You rise up when you help others rise up.

How can leaders lead when they don’t have authority?