How to Effect Change at Work When You’re Not the Boss

Do you think co-workers will listen to you even if you aren’t in a leadership position? The answer is yes.

Stepping up to the plate to effect change in the workplace when you’re not the boss is a challenge, but definitely an attainable one. Go forth with the following strategies and you will be on your way to changing your organization’s culture and unofficially leading the charge:

1. Impact company culture.

While you may not have a “fun committee” within your public-sector organization, there might be opportunities to organize off-site social events. Having fun outside of the office plays an important role in the overall workplace happiness inside the office. So do your part in the cause and help plan events! Events like happy hours, picnics, or going as a team to sporting events are all potential opportunities to have fun!

2 – Spot areas where you can help out.

Good leaders often come without a title and have a common denominator: They are good at spotting an opportunity to help others in high-impact ways. Whatever role you are in, you can find ways to assist others in their jobs. This is applicable to long-standing employees. You can use your tenure and experience to help new hires through the ropes. Helping others will strengthen relationships and effect change organization-wide.

3 –  Be a mentor.

Mentoring has a similar effect as helping others. Spot a young professional in your organization and take them under your wings.  whether it’s official or unofficial being a mentor has a huge impact organization-wide. Use your tenure to guide the young professional towards career advancement an opportunity for professional growth. More information about how to be a mentor, check out this article by Hannah Moss on “Five Tips to Become a Great Mentor.”

4. “A” is for attitude.

Attitude in the workplace is infectious on both sides of the spectrum. Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I a good seed or a bad apple at work?” Make daily changes to ensure you’re leading the charge through positivity. Just as bad attitudes effect a cancerous work atmosphere, positive attitudes make a world of a difference as well.

5. Celebrate milestones.

Have you ever worked on your birthday thinking that nobody would notice it was your “special day” but you were instead surprised by co-workers with birthday cake, balloons, and a song? Just as in any other aspect of your life, it’s the little things that matter. Take it upon yourself to organize co-workers’ milestones like birthdays and work anniversaries. Work with your organization’s leaders to develop a calendar and action plan to celebrate these special days.

6. Be the conduit to HR.

Serve as a messenger to your dedicated human resources person. Ben Peterson, CEO and co-founder of BambooHR notes in a recent Inc. article, “Find out what HR thinks about culture and how it’s communicated to employees. Sometimes HR forgets, and you might be a helpful reminder.”

7. Research other company’s employee mantras and handbooks.

Employee handbooks and guides are the go-to source for company culture and change management. Look externally and check out resources from Zappos Culture Book, Hubspot, and Netflix. Share what you learn and what you’re reading with your boss and during informal meetings. Print them off and keep them in your lunchroom… Hopefully this will spark productive water cooler conversations!

Have any additional tips? Share them in the comment box below!

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