Chances are you report to a CEO, vice president, or supervisor. Perhaps you don’t call all the shots or sit on a board, yet many people depend on you. Maybe you’re in a matrix organization without a team directly under you, but you still have to get results without a title – or any real authority.

Or maybe you’re a manager that wants to lead with empowerment instead of dominance.

If this expectation seems too big or too scary, there’s good reason. The word “authority” conjures up things like reprimanding, scrutinizing, and doling out performance reports. Ouch! But don’t think of these Band-Aid fixes as your only options, there are better adhesives. Strong, lasting bonds that never bruise a team’s spirit. Instead, harmony, inclusion, and long-range solutions become the primary focus.

Hello, I’m Your Manager… Coach      

If a manager acts as a good coach, they not only take the pressure off of themselves to provide all the answers, they empower their team to problem solve. And more importantly, the team sets goals that matter most to them.

Businesses are becoming more like Hollywood movie production teams and less like traditional corporations, according to a study by Deloitte Human Capital Trends. People come together to tackle projects, then disband and move on to new assignments once the project is complete.

So, this idea that you’ll be pegged to lead a team isn’t probable – it’s inevitable. Make your influence “stick” with these soft skills:

  1. Be a Listener
    Nowadays, your ears are the doorways to the soul. Empathetic listening urges you to understand the ideas and attitudes of another person’s point-of-view. This opens you up to more curious conversations.
  2. Be Likeable
    People respond to genuine cues. Uncross your arms, smile, and use an enthusiastic tone of voice. Others around you will tune into that same frequency and feed it back.
  3. Be a Learner
    Ask a lot of questions. Clarifying or reciting what was said, with a question, shows you care. The more you can prove that you’re paying attention, the more respect you’ll gain.
  4. Be a Leverage Point
    Some people are a fountain of gossip, others a fountain of knowledge. Be the latter of the two and have meaningful conversations with your peers. The less you engage in trivial exchanges, the more room there is to create overall positivity.
  5. Be on the Lookout
    Don’t miss the chance to find common ground with your team. Uncovering their favorite hobbies, for instance, may help you assign responsibilities based on individual strengths and passions.
  6. Be the Legroom
    Select phrases can spur a sense of community. Things like “we are…,” “all of us hope…,” “together we can accomplish…” puts each person on a level playing field.

The goal of leadership without authority is to be the boss of yourself – not your colleagues. When you do that, others will willingly cooperate and engage.

Ready to put the “L” back in leadership? For more resources, check out Hello’s approach to influential business conversations.