What Is A Great Leader? – How To Be One Without Authority

person helping another person climb up the mountain, sunset

We have all had people in our lives that we consider great leaders.

And in contrast, most of us dealt with people that we considered terrible leaders.

Great leaders have the power to change people’s lives.

And who wouldn’t want that?

Who does not want to be an inspiration in other people’s lives?

But to do that, first we need to ask:

What is a great leader?

How can we become one when we do not have the formal authority?

How can we become an inspirational leader to people that do not report to us?

Related: How To Start A Business Online? -The First Step That Most People Skip

What Is A Great Leader?

A great leader has the  following attributes:

– Positivity

We have the power to approach any event or circumstance in a positive and negative way. Great leaders always choose the positive way of approaching any obstacles or situation.

“When things are good, say good things. When things are bad, say twice as many good things.” – R. Todd Michael

– Resilience

“Resilience or hardiness is the ability to adapt to new circumstances when life presents the unpredictable.” — Salvatore R. Maddi

– Integrity

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey


“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” -Theodore M. Hesburgh

– Focus

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch

– Confidence

“He can inspire a group only if he himself is filled with confidence and hope of success.” — Floyd V. Filson

– Ability to Inspire

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams

– Humility

“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men. “– Lao-tzu

– Creativity

“Creativity is the depth of the honesty you express towards your possibility.” –Paramahamsa Nithyananda

– Empathy

” Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person. In other words, to learn from the child, we must have empathy, and empathy grows as we learn. ” – Alice Miller

Related: Is An Entrepreneur Born Or Made?

How To Be One Without Authority?

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is somewhat easier to become a leader when you have people reporting to you.

You have the authority so often people will do what you ask them to do.

But how do you become a great leader when you do not have the authority?

And why should you strive to become a great leader when you are not in charge?

I started asking those questions when during a career change I suddenly found myself in a position where I had tons of responsibilities and accountabilities but I did not have the formal authority over the other team members.

I was in charge in ensuring that deadlines are met by many departments but I was lacking the formal authority.

That is when I realized that you can always strive to be a great leader even if you are not officially in charge.

For example, when I need someone to do something by certain time, just telling them, did not work.

Very quickly I learned that with the right approach and attitude, you are able to be a great leader even without an official authority.

There are 10 main strategies to use when hoping to become a leader to others:

#1 Connect with people on a personal level

faces, personal network, connecting
Connect with people on a personal level

First I took the time to learn as much as I could about the other team members. I talked to them about their individual positions with the company and their workloads. I also took the time to find out what were their aspirations and career goals.

#2 Empower other team members

Step 2 was to make everyone feel good about their contributions to the company and our goals. Give lots of respect and appreciation. We met on regular basis, came up with a plan, agreed on some timelines. I frequently took the time to thank everyone for their contributions to out teams success.

# 3 Collaborate with them

You can show your inner leadership by collaborating with others whenever possible and feasible. If you let go of insisting on having your way or trying to control others, that will go a long way. Be supportive and always look at adding value.

#4 Be creative and inspire creativity in others

Slowly, with a lot of respect I started suggesting some creative options to our stumbling blocks. Without causing stress and discomfort, I encouraged our team members to do the same.

#5 Maintain a great mindset

Always maintain a great attitude. Show enthusiasm and positivity regardless of the situation or circumstances. If you manage to stay above the fray, that will be appreciated and respected. Always look to serve others. Try to have the attitude of “What can I do for you?”

#6 Be flexible and open-minded

if you want to stand our as a leader, learn to be agile and flexible. Be open-minded to new ideas and ways of doing things.

#7 Show people they can count on you

Gain credibility by being accountable. Teach people that you stand by them and have their backs. They will respect you for it. Showing others that you trust them will let them know that they can trust you as well.

#8 Teach others to become leaders as well

Teach others that they do not need a title or a formal authority to become a leader. Show them by example.

#9 Focus On Helping

Show genuine interest. Always look for ways to be of help.

#10 Care about people

Always care about people. Not just those that can do anything for you but more importantly, those people that seemingly cannot do anything for you. If you keep practicing that mindset, it will become something that you always look for. People will appreciate and respect you for it.

Related: How To Increase Personal Productivity?

Why Become A Leader Without Authority?

“He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.”. ― Aristotle

Why should want become a leader if we do not have the formal title or authority?

There are many reasons:

  • to make things better for everyone
  • to teach them that there is a different way
  • to take control of your life and destiny
  • to make work and your life more pleasurable for everyone
  • to make thing work better and smoother
  • to make a difference
  • to learn new things
  • to develop new skills and abilities

And so many more.

Very often we settle into the roles that are assigned to us.

We can challenge that and become better and as a result teach others that they can do the same.

We can be an inspiration and motivation to others.

It really is worth the effort.

You will get a great satisfaction from that and you will also have a sense of greater control over your life, personal and professional.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. I hope it was useful for you and that, in you are not already doing that, you will try to be more of a leader in your life.

Please leave your comments, questions, suggestions below.

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  1. Nina says:

    It was very interesting to read this article What Is A Great Leader? – How To Be One Without Authority. You have made an excellent list of ten important qualities or strategies that are characteristic of a great leader, and I very much agree with everything written. And I also really like the quotes you added. But I would highlight this most from Aristotle. We need to test ourselves in both roles, be a follower and be a leader. When we are a follower, we understand the need for a great leader, so we can then act as a great leader.
    I wish you all the best

    1. Anna says:

      Hi Nina, you are absolutely right, just as we need to be great leaders we also should learn to be great followers. This is a great point that you made. A smart person will know the difference when to lead and when to follow. Now, I’m curious, what makes a great follower. I will definitely look into that.

      Thank you for sharing a different perspective on the topic.

  2. Sammy Allen says:

    Hey Anna! I read your article and then went through the rest of your site. It’s great. As seen many of your other articles as well and they are very inspiring.

    I like how you take basic tools of life and tie them in to success and productivity in a way that puts them together like a puzzle. But you make it a puzzle easy to follow.

    Thanks for your guidance and this data about leaders helped me. Your other articles about blogging and using key words also were incredibly helpful.



    1. Anna says:

      Hi Sammy, thank you so much for your comment. I’m really glad you enjoyed the article and the website. That was the idea for  the website. I was learning so fast and so much that I wanted to convert that knowledge and help others that might not necessarily have access to the wonderful platform that we do. 

      I am so lucky to have found WA, I was able to learn so much so quickly thanks to the wonderful training. But I also want others to benefit from that knowledge. I am a part of some other communities outside of WA, and I can see how some people are really struggling. They are putting so much effort but because they do not have a proper structure they do not see the results. For example, they are producing a lot of content but do not understand the proper use of SEO keywords, as a result they are not being indexed in Google.

      I really hope my site is useful to some people who are just starting their blogging website. 

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