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How to Lead People Who Don't Report to You

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

Leadership is tough enough when you have clear reporting lines. But how do you get people who don’t report to you, to do what you want them to do?

Whether it’s working on a board, heading up an internal project, or getting help from another department, there are many times you may need to lead people who do not directly report to you.

While there are certainly some differences, you might be surprised how similar leading in these situations is. After all, most people do not like to be led simply because someone has authority to do so. Most people want something pretty simple – trust and respect.

  • Get to know people – build relationships. Not many of us are motivated to do something for someone we don’t even know.

  • Truly connect - be authentic, and genuinely care about others. If you have an ulterior motive, it usually shines through… and backfires.

  • Show your passion and belief in what you are working toward. This is contagious, and necessary for others to get on board.

  • Communicate in their language. Adapt your DiSC style appropriately so they can “hear” you.

  • Help people see what’s in it for them (not in a selfish way, but help them connect the dots to the value)

  • Listen to people, acknowledge them, and follow through on things (easy way to remember this – LAF with your people). You don’t have to agree, but if you listen and acknowledge, this shows respect.

  • Thank people. Show your gratitude.

  • Think beyond your own needs and consider how you can help others get what they want.

The most effective leaders use many of these same practices with their direct reports, even though they have authority. When you give people trust and respect, you will almost always get trust and respect in return.

Want to learn more about how to build trust and respect? Get your copy of Leading With GRIT – available on Kindle and hardcover!


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