How to manage people even when you're not their boss
Collaborative workplaces are becoming the norm, as more and more jobs require dynamic team structures. This means multiple teams across organisations, especially startups, are involved in helping a project reach its end-goal.
Being assigned to lead projects without the managerial title or authority tagged to your name can be a tricky situation to handle. You do not want to risk having uncommitted team members, especially because you do not have direct control over them, but project expectations still have to be met.
If you’re feeling a little sandwiched, and are unsure of how to navigate the matter, consider the following tips:
Get everyone on the same page
It happens - individual employees can be all over the place when it comes down to working together on a new project. To make the matter worse, you’re not their boss and technically, are in no position to dictate what they can do. But in a situation when there is no clear leader, situational leadership will have to come into play.
To prevent individuals from checking out during a discussion, encourage the team to come together for the planning process. Following the discussion, start a work-in-progress (WIP) document accessible for all to ensure everyone stays on the same page. If anyone becomes unsure of their role, point them back to the WIP document.
Influence, not dictate
Not being the direct boss’ of any team member doesn’t mean you can’t have a softer approach to getting things done. Leaders can influence decisions and action when there is charisma! Never stop listening to your team members.
To set the floor for the most effective receptivity in a team, always bridge what you’re trying to achieve back to the objective of your project. Have your idea and points clearly communicated, so everyone understands where you’re coming from. Most people work best when they have an idea or see the big picture, instead of being told to carry out instructions.
Manage different personalities
Managers attain their roles through their strong capabilities in various areas, including their ability to manage all kinds of personalities within a group. Team members need to come together in consensus for a project to move ahead. Observe and play on different strengths and weaknesses of each member, delegate roles based on that to achieve the most effective outcome.
Also never stop providing constructive feedback to whenever necessary, and put yourself in their shoes as much as possible when working together. This can help eliminate potential misunderstanding and obstacles along the way, and help foster a healthier relationship at work.
Build a relationship with managers
Lastly, communicate frequently with all the managers overseeing your team. Often when a new team is formed for a new project, individual team members are only able to commit a limited number of hours outside their day-to-day work. Being in touch with their direct supervisors could mean leeways to getting additional commitment from different team members towards your project.
In addition to that, should these team members have problems committing the project suddenly, their line manager will be likely to communicate it to you ahead of time. This will be helpful when it comes to reallocating the resources required without affecting the project end-goal.