Leading without Title
Posted by Claude Warner on Tuesday 24th August 2010 at 15:32:02
Leading from a formal position of “leader” is the lowest level of leadership, says leadership expert John Maxwell. The title of your position, such as CEO, compels people to follow you because they have to.
The highest of the 5 levels of leadership is personhood, where people follow you because of who you are. This form of leadership is based on influence, and does not need a title.
When there is something you are passionate about, when you have the discipline to apply this in a conscience directed way, you start exerting influence.
Wherever you find yourself, whether in the most humble of jobs or the most senior, you have a circle of influence where you can exercise influence.
By taking initiative you start empowering yourself and enlarging your circle of influence.
You may be familiar with the saying “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Similarly, the only way for nothing to get done is for people with vision to do nothing.
No matter how small your circle of influence, you can use your initiative and do something. You can start off with a positive attitude, doing your job with passion, diligence and conscientiously.
Instead of accepting that “that’s the way things are”, you can start taking initiative by trying different ways of doing things within your current job. You can ask your boss “What else can I do?”.
When you start accepting responsibility for where you are at, and using initiative to try and improve the situation, people start noticing.
When people identify with what you are doing, they are inspired by you to do what you are doing.
This is called leading without title.
And then you don’t have to beg and plead and threaten those people to follow you. It takes far less effort when people want to follow you.
Imagine an organisation where the workers willingly and with enthusiasm do their work because they are inspired by the example of their leaders. Think about the effect on productivity, staff turnover, sick leave etc.
It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and you can be that spark!
As a leader, how can you help your people to be those sparks?
(This is an extract from Covey’s highly recommend 8th Habit book. It is available at most book stores, or you can order it online from Loot.co.za.)
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