As employees, we all know where we fall in the office hierarchy - manager, executive, assistant and so on. While there are things one should never say at work and boundaries that are not meant to be crossed. It is important to understand that managers and leaders at all levels in the organization at times struggle to get things done through others.
In situations where the team becomes disorganized, the leader is absent, or when people quit before their replacement arrives someone has to take charge. Here are the times it is completely fine to take charge at work no matter your role.
When your manager wants you to lead
It’s when the manager has given you permission to lead and you are made the go-to person for the project, it is your cue to direct the team. It is pretty obvious, but still worth mentioning. The leadership role will require you to look over your team and make sure things are running smoothly. If things do not go well, it will be on you to resolve the issue.
Although you have been responsible for leading, it does not mean you can boss your colleagues around. Rather, take this as an opportunity to support the team by providing them with the necessary resources to get the work done.
“You don’t have to be in a leadership position to be a leader.”
- Gary Travis
When the team leader is not present
In cases when the department head is on leave due to fever and you are the only one who can meet the needs of the team. This is your golden chance to prove your leadership skills.
While your senior might be gone, keep the momentum going and carry out the tasks assigned. Make sure you do not take this as an opportunity to run with your ideas. Instead, use this time to show the team lead that you respect their decision and continue with the remaining work the lead had left behind. When the supervisor comes back, they may recognize your contribution and give you opportunities to lead in the future.
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
- John Quincy Adams
When the supervisor lacks accountability
Working with a flaky leader makes work quite difficult. There is a high chance that the supervisor may not be looking out for the team's best interest or helping them achieve their goal.
But, this does not mean that you take on their work as this can ruin the relationship with that person. However, at times when the team has been assigned a new project and the deadline is near, the head is not putting in any effort and you can take the charge of the work.
When you have done everything possible and it is your only available option and the team has little time left to get things done. Kindly let the manager know that you have decided to take it over.
It can be simple as saying “You did great work on this, but the deadline is near, and I know you’ve been swamped with other projects so I thought it would be best if I just give the demonstration myself.” This shows your honest intention and they’ll probably be happy with your initiation.
“Leadership is not a popularity contest; it's about leaving your ego at the door. The name of the game is to lead without a title.”
- Robin S. Sharma
Even if the higher-up executive is not there to guide, the work must go on. Such an occurrence compels someone to take the leadership role. Though it may not be in your job description to take the lead there are times when it’s in the best interest of the team to do so. As long as you approach the opportunity in a respectable way, with a desire to help others you are surely going to be appreciated by your supervisor. This may open more doors for you to lead in the future.