How to lead when you are not the manager

The task of leading a team can be daunting, especially if you are not the “official” manager of the team. Imagine being the leader of a team over which you have no real authority, yet you are being asked to ensure the project team do the necessary work to complete the project successfully. It may seem impossible on the surface but there are a few team building techniques which can help overcome this hurdle.

First of all, it is important to get all team members on board. One effective way to do this is by making sure everyone shares common goals and has shared responsibility for achieving those goals.

The team leader must also communicate effectively so that all team members have a full understanding of the goals. Communications should not be condescending in nature but instead should empower the members of the team fostering ownership and a commitment to the goals set forth.

Another useful technique is to identify specific team members who might help unify the team. Utilizing people who are self-starters will get the work started and keep the ball rolling throughout the life of the project. These people should possess leadership capabilities but also know the boundaries of authority.

Finally, it is imperitive to identify issues which could inhibit the team in reaching their goals. These issues must be addressed to remove the inhibitors so the goals of the team might be achieved.

Project management requires a certain amount of finesse. Bottom line, know your people and take full advantage of their abilities, skills and talents to get the job done.

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