Workplace Leaders Don't Need Leadership Titles
by: Don Doman
I'm always surprised by managers that don't understand the relationship between leadership and the workforce. Managers and supervisors have titles, but leaders quite often don't.
Leadership and management expert John Maxwell says, "Leadership is more - if not much more - influence, rather than position."
Workplace employees have people they respect and to whom they look up to for guidance. Anyone looking to move up the corporate ladder, needs to either be one of the informal leaders or have the ability to recognize these leaders and encourage their participation in company programs.
"The reality is that 99 percent of all leadership occurs not from the top, but from the middle on an organization," says Maxwell. "You can learn to develop your influence from wherever you are in the organization."
"Informal influence leaders offer an often-overlooked source of competitive advantage--they have already earned credibility and respect from others, who regularly look to them for guidance. When sharing their views, they significantly influence the acceptance or rejection of new initiatives. Influence leaders reach into every conversation, every meeting, and every decision made in an organization. The important question is whether they will exert their leadership in support or in opposition to changes you propose."
-- Informal Leadership Support by L. H. Peters and E. J. O'Connor
Informal leaders are the backbone of most organizations. Forget titles. Find the people who actually lead the employees. If you don't think they exist, then you're sadly mistaken. You may have to talk to team leaders, team members and workers outside the normal chain of command, but it will be worth it.
How do you find them? Ask a group of employees a complicated question and see where their eyes wander. Generally, they find the informal leaders.
Talk to the informal leaders. Discuss policies. Ask questions. But, most importantly . . . listen. With the backing of informal leaders you can change your organization and the world.
Don Doman is a published author (How to Produce a First-Class Video for Your Business: Work with the Pros or Do It Yourself, Market Research Made Easy, and Out of Work? Get Into Business: a Guide for the Middle-Aged Entrepreneur. He has also been a corporate producer for over two decades. Don and his wife Peg are local food and theatre critics in the Pacific Northwest, where they write about their adventures.
To learn more about this Seattle, Tacoma Washington based author, visit Don Doman's Website.
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