I had the opportunity to present at the SDC on "Empowering a Team as an Individual Contributor" (9/1/2013).
Most developers are individual contributors (IC) – in other words they do not have direct reports. But even as a non-manager, you can empower an entire team. This is due to the nature of software engineering, where developers create their own tools, a star developer can be 10x as productive as an average developer, and a single developer can use technology for team-wide impact. With the right mindset ("add business value"), and using a combination of hard skills (automation, tooling, code generation, open source, code reuse, etc…) and soft skills (interviewing, mentoring, communication and knowledge sharing, etc…), you can be that IC developer who helps lift your entire team, and have fun along the way.