How to Be a Leader Without the Title

When you’re not the one “in charge” it can be intimidating to step up and lead the people around you. But what exactly is a leader and how can you assume that role even if you don’t have a leadership title at your job? First, it’s important to understand that leadership is not a title …


When you’re not the one “in charge” it can be intimidating to step up and lead the people around you. But what exactly is a leader and how can you assume that role even if you don’t have a leadership title at your job?

First, it’s important to understand that leadership is not a title given to you. It’s an outlook. It’s a way of viewing the world – it’s a mindset. Leaders are simply problem solvers. They see a problem and they decide they want to change it, and they motivate people around them to go with them to solve the problem.

So in the work setting, when employees sit around and complain about not being in leadership and not having strong leaders around them – when they complain about not having the opportunity to lead – what they’re really saying is that they don’t want to lead. Because if they’re complaining about a problem they see instead of stepping up and doing something to solve it, then why on earth would they want to be in a position where their job is to solve problems every day? If you’re complaining about not being a leader in your job, that’s exactly why you’re not a leader in your job. 

You may absolutely have the mindset of a leader somewhere deep inside of you, but you have to get past the knee-jerk reaction to complain about problems and decide in your mind that you are a problem solver; and if there’s a problem, then it’s just an opportunity for you to help solve a problem. Leaders understand that complaining doesn’t help anyone, so they get right to the business of solving the problem.

Leading in your home is the same way. In order to lead your household, all you have to do is step out in front of the problems and lead the way to a solution instead of being the one dragging everyone back through the problem by complaining.

I’ve never met a successful leader who spent their time complaining. Don’t get me wrong, we all have complaints in our minds and we all have our negative moments where we voice those complaints unnecessarily, but the only difference between leaders and followers is that leaders decide that they’re going to actually solve the problem instead of just complaining about it. 

If you think about what it looks like to lead your household, it’s actually pretty simple. Let’s use a super simple example to illustrate:

If you’re hanging out with your family and you all decide that you’re hungry, you might tell them that you’re going to go get something to eat and ask them if they want to go with you. In that simple scenario, you’re leading them. You saw a problem that you had, you learned that they were facing the same problem, and then you offered to be the one to lead the charge in solving that problem. That’s really all leadership is. Yet when it comes to more complex scenarios, we make it more complex than it needs to be.

Leadership – whether it’s in the mundane or in the complex – is simple:

One person seeing a problem, sees the potential outcome of solving that problem, and then rallying the troops to go with them to solve it. 

And a “problem” doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Some “problems” that need solving might include where the family is going to relax on vacation this year. These are things that need to be decided and led, and the only way to do it is to start the conversation, spur the motivation, help find the provision, and keep everyone on track to meeting the decided-upon solution.

But here’s the important part:

The leader does NOT always solve the problems themselves. Actually, they rarely do.

Good leadership – especially in a home – is empowering your family to win. It’s building your wife and kids up so they can go with you in the direction you’ve agreed that the family is going.

But you can’t do any of that if you’re complaining. Because I guarantee you while you’re sitting around complaining, your family is waiting for you to lead them in solving the problems they’re facing. And taking the hard approach to addressing problems rather than wallowing in them is what will make all the difference.

Posted by Mike P. Taylor

Mike Taylor is a proud husband, father of 4, and author from Nashville, TN who communicates God's love in a way that makes sense.