In a problem-solving workshop this past week leaders spent a great deal of time working on some of the critical challenges they were facing in their workplaces. At first there was a great deal of frustration and anger in describing the leaders’ crises. It was clear that many of the leaders had been dealing with their obstacles for a long time and no one seemed to care.
“It doesn’t make sense to me that this is still going on.”
“I’ve spoken up about this situation and no one will do anything to change it.”
“I can’t do my job efficiently without this changing.”
“Why can’t I be taken seriously?”
There were so many exasperating comments and so much dissatisfaction in feeling unheard. Something had to change and it had to begin with these individuals. Even if they didn’t have the formal title, they needed to lead from where they were .
How to be taken seriously without a formal title:
Decide you want to lead.
To take on the charge of leading a change without having the formal position or title means that we are committed to our decision. Without admitting to ourselves that we can lead, the change will never take place. That’s it. The first step in steering a change is owning it . The people in my program eventually realized that they had to be the change agents to make things different.
Diagnose the right problem clearly.
To be taken seriously in initiating a change we must make sure to understand the problem completely. Defining a problem clearly involves:
Do your research and collect your data.
To share the ins and outs of a change we need to know everything about it. We need to find out what is causing the problem. One way for people to lose credibility when sharing a change is not having all the facts and information about a situation.
Brainstorm with other team members.
Even without a title or position we can rally our team members and people from departments also affected by the crisis to work with us. We can set up meetings to brainstorm solutions to the problem. Remember when we brainstorm we:
Plan your presentation carefully.
We may have the best ideas and the most solid solutions but if we can’t sell them our suggestions may be lost. We need to think about who are the decision makers and how best to demonstrate our changes. Then consider the venue and format of the presentation. Should you present your findings in a team meeting or maybe call for a few departments to get together?
How have you been taken seriously without a title or position? How did you get your suggestions heard?