Leading Beyond Authority

by Julia Middleton

Are you leading beyond your authority?


Answer ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘don’t know’ to the following questions:

  1. Would you consider taking on a project without a budget attached to it?
  2. Do you step forward at a networking opportunity and actively seek to meet new people and make new contacts?
  3. If someone is unfamiliar to you, are you excited rather than put off?
  4. Have you paved the way for someone who is leading beyond their authority in the last quarter?
  5. Do you wait to be authorised, or do you step up?
  6. Is it unimportant if your job title is left off your badge at events?
  7. At the end of a divergent discussion, do people nod when you summarise?
  8. Have you felt a sense of panic because you were in unfamiliar territory in the last quarter?
  9. Do people join your coalitions?
  10. Can you avoid switching off when other people get unnecessarily offended and see things from their point of view?
  11. Can you tempt people who wouldn’t naturally trust you to listen to you?
  12. When there is a task that will be a long haul, do people look to you?
  13. Can you cope when you don’t get the credit?
  14. Have you worked out what your personal brand stands for?
  15. Do people trust your personal brand?
  16. Do people feel inspired when they hear you speak in public?
  17. Have you dropped an expression from your vocabulary in the last year because you found it caused offence?
  18. Have your plans been influenced by someone under the age of 25 in the last quarter?
  19. Have you stopped leaving things to ‘them’?
  20. Do you succeed when you have no authority – and people that you don’t rate have?
  21. Have you resisted the temptation to lead ‘from the head’ in the last quarter?

How to score

Count up the number of ‘don’t know’ answers and ‘yes’ answers. Do it again next quarter. Compare your responses.

  • Has the number of ‘don’t know’ answers gone down?
  • Has the number of ‘yes’ answers gone up?

If the ‘yes’ count has gone up, congratulations: you are getting better at leading beyond your authority.