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A leadership role without direct reports. Help or Hinderance?

By RB_ITProfessional ·
Hello all. I would appreciate some feedback on a decision I am trying to make. I have an opportunity to take a leadership role, however it does not involve any direct reports or budgetary control. Would this be a help or a hinderance to my if my goal is to position myself for management at some point. The overall responsibilities of the role would be as follows:

1) Direct and mentor project teams on the use of the new Enterprise Architecture standards for software development

2) Provide mentorship and training on the creation of project artifacts

3) Create and maintain process governance and standards documentation

4) Be a Liason to the Business to help them understrand the new Enterprise Architecture

5) Negotiate with project teams to consolidate work efforts and utilize the common objects that will be created as a part of the new Enterprise Architecture.

I realize that in order to move into management, I will need the people management skills as well as the monetary control aspect. This position offers neither..however I could see some potential for future growth. Any thoughts on this? Any managers out there have any feedback on this?


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RB, u r on the right track

by ralph In reply to A leadership role without ...


I believe you are already on the right track, by recognizing that you are presented with an opportunity to develop much needed (for vertical momentum, that is) people skills. The real challenge of leadership is getting people to see things your way, and encouraging them to behave in a certain manner, without having the 'dictatorial' powers of supervisor over them.

In the end, that is true leadership, as opposed to being a boss. They all become your reports, if you handle matters righht, and this can look snazzy on your cv. You are lucky, please grab your chance!

Head, Systems Development and e-Banking, Process and Quality Management,
FSB International, Lagos, Nigeria

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I accepted the position!

by RB_ITProfessional In reply to A leadership role without ...

Hi folks. Thanks so much for all of your feedback! I have decided to accept the position. I start in two weeks. I am really looking forward to the opportunity, and will take everyone's advice and feedback wtih me as I move into this new venture. Thanks again!

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Responsibility without authority is a recipe for failure

by smurray In reply to I accepted the position!

Good luck. No reflection on you, but you'll need it.

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no reports does not equal no authority

by JamesRL In reply to Responsibility without au ...

I held a position where I was a one man project office. I had no direct reports, but I had the authority to stop any project, probe project plans, challenge assumptions etc. You don't have to have reports to have power.


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Not necessarily

by Kdoyle In reply to Responsibility without au ...

As several other posts have indicated, this job sounds like project management. This can be a stepping stone into management -- that's how I obtained my current position as an IT Manager.

Project management will help you develop people skills as you work with employees from different areas to accomplish your tasks. They won't be your direct reports, but you nevertheless will be "managing" their time on the project. Also, although you may not have a "budget" per se, you will be managing money, either through purchases for the project, or employees' time.

Start taking some project management and supervisory/management classes, and if you don't have a degree start taking classes towards one. I have seen where this is a big help for those who want to get into management positions. It helps you develop the "soft skills" that a manager needs.

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Adv ice

by donstrayer In reply to Responsibility without au ...

This sounds a lot like several different positions I've held as a 'special projects' manager or SME. As project manager you're responsible for results but you lack the critical authority to manage people and budget. As SME you're the guru, but again you have no real authority. In either case it's potentially very rewarding, challenging, and fraught with risk.
Reward: You may get a chance to write a lot of the rules, within constaints set by management, to learn new things, and to accomplish something worthwhile. Success means recognition that you're ready for greater management responsibility.
Challenge: Your authority is based on respect from your dotted-line reports and their managers. Expect more than token cooperation only if they recognize you as an expert who is strongly supported by senior management. And even then, don't assume they'll do what you need when you need it. The book "Getting Things Done When You Are Not In Charge" by Geoffrey M. Bellman may help.
Risk: In addition to the challenge risks never forget that as business needs change, what you're doing may suddenly become non-strategic and as a 'lone wolf' you may be particularly expendable.
Pay attention to how your work in this position can enhance your future employability, not just your value to your current employer.

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Go for it!

by breirden In reply to A leadership role without ...

Obviously management thinks enough of you to offer you this position. As other replies have noted, just because there are no direct reports, this position will be more difficult because you will have to achieve goals and deliver results with only your personal power as a motivator - a much more difficult way to manage. It will be great experience and an opportunity you may not get again. Don't pass it up and wish you hadn't.

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Blame game !

by ristau5741 In reply to A leadership role without ...

Without people and monetary responsibilities you can't effectively manage.

you're getting set up to take a fall, a big fall,
the postition sounds like a scape goat, a patsy, someone to blame and take the fall when something goes wrong.

Since you will be a "manager" that's you.

The thing to ask yourself, is "Who has final say over points 1-4?" you? or are you going to need your managers approval before you implement any new projects, processes, or rules.

run away, far far away.

If you want to manage, take some management night classes in the evenings and get a real Manager's job.

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by mollenhourb In reply to A leadership role without ...

Having had this type of role before, I can say that yes, it is a spring board to management. Of course, some of that depends on what type of management you have at your company, but you have to assume that the position was created for a reason.

Your statement that this position does not offer people skills because you don't have direct reports is a bit distressing though. It shows that you are still thinking like a techie and not like a human. There is nothing in your job description that is overly technical. You are teaching people how to become useful business people, people who can understand user needs, not just the latest whiz bang solution that doesn't have a problem.

Take the job, but crawl out of your shell if you want it to be a management training tool.

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Take it

by Busy_Bee In reply to A leadership role without ...

Assuming you have not had any previous management experience and you are happy with the company overall, you should take this role. A position that gives you additional responsibility and broader visibility throughout the company is an excellent stepping stone to a management position. This will allow you to shine in front of a wider audience and garner support from the higher-ups across the organization, as well as give you an opportunity to gain the respect of those that you may wind up managing later.

However, keep notes on your accomplishments - without budgetary or staff responsibilities, you will need a list of accomplishments on your resume that show that this was truely a "leadership position", if things don't work out for you in this company.

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