“You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.” Anthony J. D’Algelo
I have met a few good leaders who were not in a position of leadership. When I was younger, I found myself impressed with positions, but as I have gotten older, I’ve seen that some of the best leaders don’t hold that position.
This is not to knock the leaders in positions. Many times they are put there for lack of a better candidate. Also, those in leadership will grow in ability if they focus on being teachable.
On the contrary, this is to encourage each of us to lead positively right now. How does this happen? A few years ago, I found myself utterly baffled by what a creative team can accomplish when they set themselves wholeheartedly to a task. From then on, I decided that I’d like to continue pursuing great visions that can only happen with a creative team.
Here are a few questions that can guide us as we lead:
1. Do we have a great vision that we can’t accomplish by ourselves or that shouldn’t be attempted alone? Sometimes we don’t have a vision. If this is the case, we might want to work with others who do have an admirable vision. However, if we have a worthy goal that we are not attempting because we know we can’t get it done alone, we are surely in a position to lead.
2. Who shares a similar vision that might also want to accomplish the task? The first task is to share your vision only with those you believe are like-minded. If the right people want to join in getting it done, you’ll have the green light. Before starting anything, I like to think about the many kinds of opposition I’ll face along the way and expect these to show their nasty faces. However, it’s most important to see the finished product and to help everyone on the team understand how the finished product will look. In this way, creatives can envision how they can join in and even enhance the finished product bringing it past what the visionary has presented. These are the perfect people to have on a team.
3. Do we fully embrace the fact that this task can only be accomplished with a dream team, or are we just looking to promote our own agenda? When we start with a vision, we have to see the whole thing as a group effort not as a self-promotion. I’ve worked with people who have the vision of watching others complete their goals–somewhat like a “boy Friday” approach. This is not the team I’m talking about. While these people think themselves grand, the rest of the “team” thinks otherwise. No, a real leader will give a few parameters and let the creatives do their thing within those. Here, the leader will see something emerge that he or she could not have imagined. In turn, the leader will do everything possible to help these creatives know that their unique contributions have greatly enhanced the group vision. Those creatives need to own their work, and the leader needs to lift them on a pedestal instead of squelching their creative contributions.
4. Are we looking to improve the work of the whole group in order to better our environment? When our vision brings added value to our workplace, more people will want to be involved. Here, a leader will need eyes to know how each member of the community can enhance the vision instead of pulling it down. Sometimes it takes time to develop the eyes to know which people should be involved and in what capacity. Yet, involving people can build a positive community event.
Regardless of who we are or what position we hold, we’re probably leading someone in one direction or another. The question we should ask ourselves is whether or not we want to be intentional about it.
In what positive ways are you leading?