Assuming Command: Taking the Lead When You’re Not the Leader

golden-chess-pawn-LAURA STACKIn an enlightened workplace, one of the most important aspects of taking initiative is adopting the thoughts and actions of a leader. A decent executive, especially one who cares about succession planning, will ask or encourage different people under his or her authority to take the lead in meetings, specific projects, and certain types of tasks. After all, most of us learn best by doing. These leadership opportunities may be explicit, in that he or she will deliberately give you the opportunity to lead. Or, they may be tacit, where the leader expects someone to step up and do the job without being asked, even if it’s something as small as making a call to ensure a client got a package on time.

Delegating such leadership opportunities (or allowing them to evolve) becomes particularly important when the leader heads a large team. As I’ve pointed out before, smaller teams tend to function faster and more efficiently than larger ones, because they involve fewer decision and communication points. Business success has become all about speed, flexibility, and agility.

Stepping Up 

Business hierarchies continue to flatten, a tendency now more than a decade old. Management and workers are now closer than ever before when it comes to duties and responsibilities. Bright people of all levels not only can contribute to the positive functioning of a team, they must. This means you. Don’t keep your head down or hide in the back of the conference room, no matter how introverted you feel. Modern leaders often choose workers specifically for their niche specialties, and everyone needs to hear from you in order to maximize team productivity.

Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics that can make anyone a good leader. Among other things, they:

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Laura Stack

Laura Stack

Laura Stack is America's premier expert in personal productivity. For over 20 years, her speeches and seminars have helped professionals, leaders, teams, and organizations improve output, execute efficiently, and save time at work. She's the author or coauthor of 10 books, most recently, What to Do When There's Too Much to Do. To invite Laura to speak at your next meeting or register for her free weekly newsletter, visit

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