Hi Manager Tools,

Do you have any advice about managing a project when you don't have the title of 'manager/boss' to back you up? In other words, if your boss has given you a project which involves managing your peers, what's the most effective way to get good work from everyone?

I have been managing a larg-ish project for the last 5 weeks, since my boss delegated it to me. This morning we delivered it on time (after pulling an all nighter last night). I am very proud of it and feedback from the higher ups has been good. I also managed to pull it of without fighting with any of my peers, which was another objective of mine.

I would like to build on this as It would be at least 2010 before I might have the title/power of a 'boss' and will have to manage my peers many times over the next year. Any tips?

Duncan in Taiwan

ps. I love the podcasts, unfortunately for you, I have not recommended them to anyone as I want to keep them all for myself...

tlhausmann's picture
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Keep doing what you are doing. Piling up successful projects by influencing and coordinating others. Management is not about power.

Also, you expand your influence by sharing are making a mistake by not building up the capabilities of the people around you. Tell them about Manager Tools!

stephenbooth_uk's picture

There are 3 types of power:

* Role
* Relationship
* Reputation/Expertise

Role power is being the boss who can tell people what to do and they'd better do it or face the consequences. It's the big neon sign on your forehead that you cannot see but flashes to all your directs the message "I AM YOU BOSS AND COULD FIRE YOU." That's the one you don't have. Role power is all external,it's what the company gives you, and is quickest to develop (if you're made the boss then you have it from day one).

Relationship power is people wanting to do things for you. It's the history you have with them, the network activity, that makes them like and respect you, it's also about you having done things for them in the past (although you're not keeping score of course). That's something you may have and can build. Relationship power is largely internal, you have to build relationships which takes time, and is based around communication and you doing things.

Reputation/Expertise power is people believing that if you ask them to do something it's the right thing to do. It's the history of good calls made by you and means people respect your decisions and think that you're the one who knows what needs to be done and if they do what you say then things will be better than if they don't. That's something you may have and can build. Reputation power is partly internal and partly external, you have to do things well but others also need to recognise this, and based around successes and achievements so it's slow to build.

I think your best bet for now would be to celebrate the success you've had. Lavish praise and affirming peer feedback on the people involved and make sure as many people as possible up,down and across the organisation know what the team achieved. Build relationships where you can both with your peers and with other teams, listen to the podcasts about relationship building. In particular listen to the podcasts about the DISC model then apply the lessons to the people around you so that you're communicating with them in the most effective way.


HMac's picture

Duncan: Job well Done!

I hope you celebrated with your peers and acknowledged their parts in making the outcome successful. I hope you explained - in writing - to your boss how each person specifically contributed to the succees.

Here's an acid test: Would they do it again? If so, you're in great shape.

And here's a tip: You didn't "manage your peers." You managed THE WORK. And your peers collaborated with you to get the project done. At first glance this may seem like a semantic difference, but it's a lot more than that. Here's why:

I could be wrong, but I'll bet your boss doesn't think you "managed people." He/She thinks you worked with people, and managed a project. Additionally, I'll bet your peers don't think you managed them - they think they worked with you on a project which you led.

Moral: Be careful that you're not the only one thinking your managing others. If your boss doesn't think your managing people, you're not!

I admire what you've done, and hope the best success for you in the future. You keep this up, and you'll be a manager in the future. Your company will recognize your contribution, and promote you to a management position. And if they don't, you'll have a great track record to get that promotion somewhere else.


dmurtagh's picture

Thanks all for the great advice. I will post from time to time on the forum. In addition to the fact that it will help my career, it might also be nice for you guys to hear from someone who is not quite a manger yet.


hchan's picture

I am dropping in to say "Thank you for such great advice." to everyone - Stephen, Hugh, and TLHAUSMAN. The two big words in my subject line were what came to mind as I read your comments. Your advice (in all other questions as well) are very valuable, and your generosity in helping others is really commendable.

And Duncan - Congratulations for your recent success. I am sure there are more to come.

A little tip on motivating peers - make sure you give them credits. Be sure to give credit when it's due. And in some cases, try giving a little credit to some people though they don't fully deserve it.... Selectively do that if you see potential in them. Some people respond very well to praise and encouragement - and you will draw out their best qualities.

My other little advice would be for you to consider sharing these podcasts with others. Being a leader means you are leveraging others to get the job done well. So if they get better because of these podcasts (which they will), so will you. To be a good people manager, you need to be able to genuinely want them to be super-successful.

Actually, these podcasts are one of the great things in life that you can share and still keep it all... And imagine being able to discuss the latest casts with your friends and co-workers - you will get a lot more out of it.

US41's picture

A little cynicism, if I may.

I've been listening and using this system for years. I used to have the same worry - that if I shared the casts with others, I would look weak and in need of a podcast for help or that others would steal these cool ideas and compete with me.

Share the podcasts with others. I promise you, no matter how much you share them, how incredible you do, how curious others are as to where you are getting all of this cool new business ability, your peers and subordinates are not going to think you are weak or laugh at you. I would be surprised if more than one of them listened to all of the podcasts the way you do.

I know it feels like they will and you will be exposed for the fraud that you are. We've all been there at some point whether we admit it or not. But the truth is, those of us who evangelize the MT message and try to spread the word are often shocked at how stubborn others can be and how unwilling they are to bother to listen to a single one.

"I don't have a CD player in my car"
"I don't have an iPod."
"The company blocks the site."
"They are really long."
"I couldn't remember the URL."
"My leg hurts. My dog ate my homework. I'm helpless and pathetic. There is a scary rooster crowing in the background."

You will hear all sorts of interesting reasons why it is TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE to listen to these podcasts. Clearly the few, the proud, those of us who actually listen to them, are in absolutely no danger at all of being replaced by the hordes of barbarians who discover our secret technology and start an arms race with us.

Share freely. Give Mark and Mike all of the support you can. It's the least you can do considering all the help they give us FOR FREE. Don't worry. You will likely laugh as you see what I am talking about.