It’s easy to shy away from leadership responsibility by turning to any number of excuses. Someone else above you needs to make the final call. You don’t manage people; you’re an individual contributor. You’re a subject matter expert, not a leader. Your team knows exactly what to do and doesn’t need you. You might even simply state: “I’m not the big boss.” I hear a lot of “that’s not my pay grade.” In every case, this type of stance leads to confusion and missteps, large and small.
Realize That Everyone Needs to Lead
“Who’s in charge here?” It’s a phrase many of us have heard in any number of situations and scenarios throughout life—in movies, at work, at home. Yet in successful organizations, being a leader isn’t just about people managing others. Instead, it’s about helping to make everyone on your team a leader.
Just consider the annual scene of geese flying south for the winter. It’s then, when the geese are in search of a warmer climate, that we see the flying-V formation overhead. What’s particularly interesting about this is the goose at the apex of the V might be considered the leader. They set the course, lead the way and deal with the most wind in their face.
But that’s only for a time. When the lead goose tires, he or she makes its way back to the end of the line and a new goose becomes the leader—setting the course, leading the way, and dealing with the most wind in the face.
In business today, organizations need a similar formation, with everyone leading regardless of whether they manage people or not. And that means everyone needs to be ready to lead when it’s their turn.
What leadership opportunities have you created for your employees?
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