Everyday Leadership: How to lead without authority

Muhammad Rahim Usman
6 min readJan 6, 2021

Leadership is not about authority, rather it's about taking the responsibility

Leadership is a word that we might have heard in our daily life. The general perspective of leadership is, “A leader is the one who leads a group of people.” However, this concept is not entirely true. Leadership is not just about authority, rather it's about taking the responsibility. Leadership is a choice that we make every day. From daily routine tasks to leading any team, It's about taking the first step and doing something productive without any authority. Changing the course of someone’s life merely by your words and subconsciously being so impactful also comes under the banner of Leadership. Let’s explore more about the term “Leadership”

Initial Chit-chat

Officially our session starts at 10:00 am sharp, however, I along with some of our fellows often join before 10:00 am. In session 5, we had done the same. After asking the well-being, Ma’am Zarafshan asked us to tell what we like and dislike about winters. Everyone jumped into that discussion. Eventually, we had reached 10:00 am and the session started formally. In the beginning, Ma’am Zarafshan broached the Project work submission (who has submitted the project and who still has not) and she also revealed our “Progress report” of first two weeks. Moreover, Video awards and the title of “Most thoughtful project” was given as well. Ma’am Rabeea had noticed some common errors while checking our project works so she mentioned some do’s and don’ts.

Leadership stories

In this segment, Ma’am Rabee asked all of us to think of such people who might have played the role of a leader in their lives. We had beheld a lot of stories from our fellows and every leader in their stories signified one major trait due to which that person could be called a leader. The highlighted traits were empathy, kindness, and empowerment. Those stories actually made us realize that how someone’s words and small actions could really become so impactful in some people’s lives.

Make a Bridge

As I stated above, “Leadership is not about authority, rather it's about taking the responsibility”. To get that learning into practice, an activity was introduced in the session in which we are just asked to make a bridge. We were divided into breakout rooms and no more instructions were given to us. Many of us thought that we would get the instructions in our breakout rooms, however, in actual it was the test of us that who would actually take the responsibility or lead. In our breakout room, when we even were not given the instructions after a while we all were clear. We started to think of the ideas that how could we make a bridge and eventually we made two bridges. One was conventionally made on a digital whiteboard and other was made by connecting our hands in a way that it somehow portrayed a bridge. That activity actually made us realize the significance of taking the lead and getting your work done.

Types of leadership

“Making a bridge” activity subconsciously made us practice different types of leadership and it brought a significant discussion on those types. Ma’am Rabeea then shared three different types of leaderships which we generally practice in our daily lives. Those were:

  1. Autocratic
  2. Laissez-Faire
  3. Democratic

The brief description of all these styles are shown in the graphic below:

Ma’am Rabeea, after that activity, asked all of us to ponder and explain what leadership style you had exercised in your activity. This actually made us clear about these leadership styles. My reflection on this is,

“We should not exercise a single leadership style all the time. It all depends on the circumstances that which style is preferable for us.”

Lollipop Moments and Leadership

Lollipop moments are those impactful moments which actually turns the course of life for anyone. It could even be some impactful words, some empowering talks or anything that could influence someone's life. We all subconsciously might have experienced such moments in our lives and we subconsciously might have become the cause of that in someone's life too. In the session, Ma’am Zarafshan recalled this concept and asked a very intriguing question, “How can we relate leadership with lollipop moments?”. Everyone gave their perspectives and we all understood that relationship. My reflection on this is,

“Leadership, in actual, is taking the responsibility and leading without authority. Leadership is not just to lead a group of people, rather it's about stepping forward wherever the situation demands. When we step forward and do something for others, it actually becomes the cause of a lollipop moment in someone’s life and we subconsciously become impactful in others’ lives.“

Leadership at the Workplace

We do have to encounter certain situations at a workplace in which we have to lead without authority and come up with creative solutions. Ma’am Rabeea called for a similar activity in which we had to contemplate about any of our problems and then had to come up with a creative yet feasible solution as well. Each task was time-bound and hence that activity gave us a gist of leadership at our workplace.

LUMS Case study activity

We have been given a LUMS case study in our project work in which we had to think of arguments to solve a conflict. In the case study, there were two main characters, “Saad” and “Zahra” who actually got involved in a conflict and it was about the higher studies and early marriage of females. In our session, we recreated a summary of what actually happened as per the case study. Engr. Shayan Ahmad acted as Saad, and Faqeeha Fatima acted as Zahra. Two more fellows were picked for the other two roles of their friends. All the actors especially Saad and Zahra acted brilliantly. It certainly became an indelible memory for our batch. That activity gave us a gist of how conflict management is directly related to leadership and by stepping forward how we can resolve the conflict in the best way possible.


Concludingly, I would like to mention that it was yet another awe-inspiring session. I actually contemplated and practised the term “Leadership” in an indelible manner. My key takeaways from this session are,

  1. Having authority does not mean that you misuse your powers and get stubborn on your ideas. Try to have a growth mindset and persuasive nature.
  2. You actually don't need to wait to be a hero. Step up and just take the lead. Sometimes merely your words enlighten one’s inside to that extent that you can't even imagine.
  3. Conflict is not a negative thing. It actually solely depends on your perception. Conflict brings an opportunity to learn and you just need to sit down and listen to what others need to say. You might end up learning that you both actually have the same ideas or you may find a common ground where you both can agree.