Hey manager! Leaders can emerge from any position at any time in any circumstances. If you don’t think that’s possible, your position is in direct jeopardy right now. Managers who become too assumptive about their value and their place in a company are quickly – and often shockingly – replaced. Doesn’t matter where you are in the company, if you begin to take your position or your team for granted, you could find yourself in very real danger of losing them.
There are a lot of different approaches to leadership, but the one that will get you more than any others is allowing a situation in which people are not actively and intuitively understanding who’s really in charge. And here’s a tip, it’s rarely the person who says “I’m the boss.” If you have to say you’re the king, look out your highness.
Here’s the thing. Every leadership situation requires a unique style and approach to leadership. Some situations will work better with a more “one of the boys” approach while others will require a more distant “authoritarian” approach. Understanding which is right for you, in your current situation, is an important step in effective leadership.
Another aspect of establishing your leadership is in carrying and projecting the vision. That doesn’t mean you are the only one allowed to contribute, or even that you should always have the last say in what happens … sometimes, in fact, you shouldn’t speak at all. But that’s a topic for another time.
The issue here is one of cooperative workflow. When you have other people on your team with leadership potential, it’s not enough to tell them what to do and expect them to contribute action but not inspiration. That sort of environment will stifle them, and stunt your potential growth. You need to learn how to bring them alongside the vision you carry while also helping them understand why that’s the vision they should be supporting.
There’s an inherent danger here that gets us back to the main topic of this article. When you bring someone else alongside your vision, you better make sure it’s a vision worthy of support. If you have a paper-thin idea or a flimsy façade, a good leader will see right through that and instinctively replace your faux vision with a more real version. Suddenly, you have a power struggle on your hands. And you know why? Because you didn’t do your job.
Remember, if you don’t have a worthwhile vision, someone else will. And people follow visions, not positions … don’t learn that the hard way.