Leading From Anywhere, Anytime, With Anyone
I know I am bit behind on a post, but the hubby and I took a few days off to head to San Diego to spend some time together. Many of you may not know, but the hubby (Kenny) travels about 45 weeks out of the year, so the uninterrupted time together was needed AND fun!! We definitely overindulged in Little Italy in downtown San Diego and I highly recommend the lasagna at Mona Lisa’s.
Okay, enough about the trip (and lasagna), let’s talk shop. As you know these write ups always come from some sort of conversation or interaction I have had with one of our community members (to join the community, click HERE). This conversation was with a colleague I love talking leadership with and how individuals should feel, no matter their position/title/years of experience, etc. that WE ALL LEAD. I am a BIG believer in leading from anywhere, at any time, with anyone. And the more I keep studying the concept of influence (more to come on this soon), the bigger the believer I am in on leading from anywhere.
In many - if not most - organizations, the word “leadership” is usually used to describe duties of someone who has a manager, senior, director, or president title, if not this group of people as a whole. Leadership teams, senior leadership, leadership roles…these phrases are often indicative of someone who has the power to influence others’ development and duties within a role. This is fairly common and it’s true there are times it is important to distinguish between those who are formally trained or required to lead vs. those who are not.
However, the use of this word often neglects to consider one very important aspect of collaboration in the workplace, and that is…
Anybody can lead, regardless of their title or position.
While it’s important to remember that company policies or expectations may dictate who can provide formal feedback, training, discipline, or raises (rightfully so), this doesn’t mean that there isn’t room to support others, lead by example, or teach colleagues new skills…regardless of your position.
Leading from your role might look differently than your managers or senior leadership teams. Instead of planning formal team retreats or prioritizing employee professional development, your own leadership style might look different. A few ways to think about leading from anywhere are:
Give someone new a shout out each day. Doing so can create a sense of camaraderie and remind your team how important it is to lift each other up. Giving kudos to others and providing positive feedback is a great way to boost morale!
Offer to help when help is needed. When you have room on your plate to assist others with their tasks, you can let your team know that you’re there to help, if needed. Stepping up to help in big or little ways can show your team that you take initiative to get the job done and lead by example.
Ask to mentor new or inexperienced teammates. Many organizations operate on a buddy system, pairing new (or newly promoted) employees with a teammate to help show them the ropes and answer questions. Ask your leadership team if there’s room for you to step into a position like this to help new team members get acquainted with the organization.
At the end of the day, there’s no wrong way to lead, and you definitely don’t need to be a manager to do so. One of the best ways to lead by example is to express approachability and a willingness to help when needed - just don’t burn yourself out in doing so.