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8 Ways To Be a Leader Without the Title

Innovative leadership ideas

I’m not the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and neither are the majority of you reading this article. For a long time, differing titles within company hierarchies have signaled levels in leadership; however, regardless of our titles, it’s important to understand that we have the opportunity to be a leader every single day. Here are 8 ways with expanded ideas that everyone can be a leader within their organization, regardless of title.

Ron Burgundy Quotes
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Ron Burgundy –

When You F Up, Raise Your Hand

We all make mistakes because we are all constantly learning, regardless of level, title, or years of experience. What makes a great leader, is the ability to own up to a mistake, without excuse, and without throwing anyone else under the bus. Often, it’s not about the mistake itself, but about how it’s handled. It takes courage to admit to a mistake–especially as a leader, which is why raising your hand when you F up is key to building trust, fueling camaraderie, and gaining respect.

Treat People Epically 

Practice the following:

  • Listen with every ounce of yourself, showing dedication, care, and appreciation. 
  • Trade judgment for empathy.
  • Take an interest in people’s lives outside of work.
  • Be kind – it’s always possible.
  • Notice and acknowledge things like a haircut, a nice tie, a family picture, etc.
  • Show compassion above ego, insecurity, anger, disappointment, and pressure. 
  • Embrace humility.

Do What You Said You Would 

Having a good grasp on communication, time management, and prioritization helps with upping productivity and overall performance. Reliable coworkers reduce the unnecessary stresses that every workplace has. Showing commitment and following through gives others the opportunity to be their utmost productive selves, allowing them to feel more valuable in their time spent at work. 

Power of Positivity
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Stay Positive, Forge Ahead

When the going gets tough (because it always does), channel every grateful thought in your body to stay positive and forge ahead. Reduce stress by staying positive and optimistic, allowing for better idea generation within yourself and among others.

Recognize Publicly 

We often keep compliments to ourselves. Why hold them in? We know who busts their hump, day-in and day-out; shows up with a great attitude; shows willingness to help out. I bet a few people came to mind as you read!

Why not recognize them by:

  • Giving them a shout out in a team meeting.
  • Raising a glass to them at Happy Hour.
  • Leaving a Thank You note on their desk.

Praising publicly is contagious, giving others the opportunity to recognize that individual for a job well done.

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When Saying Thank You, Add A “Why”

A quick “thanks” is a nicety. Adding why you’re grateful creates an impression. Offering a reason behind the appreciativeness resonates with the receiver’s action, encouraging them to keep up the great work. Remember – just because you think they’re doing a great job doesn’t mean that others outwardly praise them.

Surprise People

 It’s the little things – grabbing a lunch tab unexpectedly; setting your coworker’s favorite coffee from Starbucks on their desk before they get in; sending a hilarious meme in email – the list goes on. Honestly, nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than a coworker randomly surprising the office with bagels after forgetting my breakfast at home. Surprising others can change the outlook of an entire day. Linking the surprise with something that reinforces your knowledge of them is the absolute best – it means you noticed.  

Set The Example As A Leader

So many companies attempt to change their culture by talking about behaviors they want to adopt, or get rid of. Talking about it is not the same as doing it – you MUST action the example so that others experience the benefit of the behavior change firsthand. Modeling a specific behavior takes heaps of patience and consistency, and will influence change in a non-invasive, non-threatening way that is more adoptable by others.

What are ways you lead within your organization each day, regardless of title? How do you see others leading?

Until next time,


Kirsten is the founder of Path to Summit LLC, a small business coaching firm in the Greater Denver Area. She works with small businesses to realize idea potential, create consistent & forward momentum, and plan for short & long term success.

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1 Comment

  1. […] be honest – this is a requirement of any great leader. The ability to be humble when giving / receiving feedback, while managing conflict, etc. is huge. […]

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