"What are some strategies to lead without authority at work, especially across generations?"
Regardless of your title or management level at work, you always have the ability to show up and perform your best. When you do this consistently, and people above and below you begin to expect you to deliver high-quality work on time, ask relevant questions, contribute useful information, help others, etc. you build a reputation.
This reputation, as a trusted colleague and contributor, is often more impactful than your title or having authority over others. This is especially true if you have a specific skill set you can contribute – impressive organization, great eye for design, excellent copywriting, ironclad memory of technical knowledge – to become the “expert” that others look to, none of which requires a title, authority, or decades of experience.
Other skills that will set you apart as a leader that cross generational boundaries include having a positive outlook, seeking solutions rather than complaining about problems, empathetic and active listening, avoiding gossip, encouraging others and celebrating their success.
In the article, the author gives a shout-out to the American Chemical Society’s course on Leading Without Authority, one of the courses in the ACS Leadership Development System®. I highly encourage anyone attending an ACS meeting to consider taking this or any of the courses, because they’re a goldmine of useful information that can help you go beyond managing your career to accelerating it. These courses are excellent for people at any stage of their career – from just starting out, to considering a transition, to preparing for a new leadership position.
This article has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.
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