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The Champion Forum Podcast

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TCF028: Leading Without Authority

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! If you’re not currently in a leadership position, it can be challenging to get people to listen to you. But, if you believe that you must be in a position of authority to have influence, you don’t understand leadership. Leadership is more than a position; it is the ability to cultivate influence where you are, regardless of your title. In this episode, Jeff will give you 4 ways that you can increase your influence in your position, regardless of if you have an official leadership title.

Appointed authority: Influence you have because of a position or title you were given.

Earned authority: Influence you have because you have built a relationship of trust and respect with people around you.

“Leadership is a choice you make rather than a place you sit. In other words, leadership comes from influence and not from your position. For this reason, even when you’re not in front, you’re still leading those around you.” - John Maxwell

1. Build Trust: Trust Comes First

  • Trust creates influence, and influence gives you the ability to lead.

  • Regardless of your talent or credentials, people will not follow someone they don’t trust.

  • People trust those who

1) have their best interests at heart

2) have confidence that you can help them.

  • You can build trust by

    • asking people for advice and listening to them

    • taking a personal interest in what is important to them

    • being genuine

    • helping people reach their personal goals


Q: Is it easier to break trust or earn trust, in your opinion? Has a leader ever caused you to lose trust in them? What did they do? Were they ever able to repair that trust? If so, how? What actions do you think help a person become trustworthy?

2. Demonstrate confidence without being arrogant or constantly needing approval.

  • Having to deal with someone else’s ego is always a turn-off.

  • Needy leaders are rarely inspiring.

Q: Which do you find more difficult to trust, an arrogant leader or a needy leader? What do you think is the difference between an arrogant leader and a needy leader?

3. Be great at what you do!

  • Excellence attracts attention and influence.

  • When your hard work begins to pay off and you get the spotlight, use it as an opportunity to gain influence and make a bigger impact.

Q: If you aren’t a leader, how do you think that being great at what you do can inspire confidence in your coworkers? How can you show that you are great at what you do without looking arrogant or like you are asking for the approval of your coworkers?

4. Inspire People to Find Their Purpose

  • Help people understand the greater purpose behind their work.

  • People who have a deep sense that their work is important and always strive to do their best at it.

  • People are attracted to those who help them find purpose and inspiration.

Q: What is the bigger purpose behind your current job? Who helped you understand that purpose? What is your relationship like with that person? Did that person have any of the other qualities listed above?

Application Activities

  1. Make a list of all the people on your team. Now, write down at least three things you know about them and one of their personal goals. How did you do? Spend the next two weeks going down that list and intentionally spending time with those people, getting to know their personal dreams and goals. Remember that people won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

  2. How well do you understand how your job relates to the overall purpose of your company? Having a greater understanding of your own role will help you to better inspire members of your team. Spend some time at the beginning of the week when you are looking at your schedule to brainstorm the bigger purpose behind your weekly tasks. Then, do the same for your employees at their weekly one-on-one meetings. Help cast vision for how their weekly tasks play a role in the mission of the company and their impact on the lives of your customers.

  3. You will make time for what you value. If you value building a relationship of trust and genuine care with your team members, you will make time for them and do things that are meaningful to them. Set aside time every week to invest in one of your team members. If appropriate, you could send them an encouraging text, take them to lunch, or give them a small gift to show that you are thinking of them. However, don’t forget to keep your promises and appointments and actively show them that you are in their corner every day. Going the extra mile will be more genuine when you prove that you are trustworthy in day-to-day situations.

Connect with Jeff

Instagram: @thechampionforum

Facebook: The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher

Email: jeffhancher@thechampionforum.com

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