Tag Archives: Influence

Leaders can be Found Anywhere and Everywhere

Standing Out From the CrowdAs information about the tragedy in Boston emerge one of the things that struck me most was the number of people who ran towards the site of the bombing.  Sure people ran away, but many turned to help.  Some were obviously first responders who are trained and who accepted the duty to render aide.  Others however were ordinary people who performed extraordinary acts.  While these acts inspired me and provided proof that there are many good and fearless people in the world, it also reminded me that leaders can be found throughout all levels of an organization.

Being a leader means that you are willing to step up and take action.  It’s more than just a title; in fact there are people who are in leadership positions that really do not lead anyone.  They may command action due to their title and position but people aren’t inspired to follow them anywhere.

True leaders are people who inspire others to take action and move in a common direction.  I’ve seen this from a factory floor to corporate offices, in schools and on youth sports teams.  If you step back and watch behaviors there will be a person in a group that everyone else looks to for guidance and direction.  At times they aren’t even really aware that others are following them, they just do what’s right because that’s who they are.  This draws people in and results in others adopting their attitudes and behaviors.

Unfortunately at times the people who become defacto leaders have great charisma but are self-centered and only have their interests in mind.  These people can lead folks down an ugly path.  The good news is that while these people exist they typically don’t have great influence over many people for very long.  Good people realize the intent is off and pull away.

The challenge for organizations is to identify the informal leaders who are shaping the thoughts and actions of those around them and ensuring they are engaged in moving the company forward.  Too often management underestimates the power of the informal leaders and works to direct everyone’s actions without using these valuable resources to provide momentum.  Tapping into the leadership found at every level of your organization will help create a uniform culture, makes it easier to introduce change effectively and can provide critical insights into the problems within the company.

Remember that anyone can lead from anywhere in your organization.  Encourage people to step up and help direct the actions of their team or department, particularly those who do not have a position that means they have a responsibility to lead others.  The informal leaders have great influence on those around them and can make or break a change initiative.   Just like ordinary people can be heroes in times of disaster, ordinary people can be inspiring leaders.  Find them in your organization and celebrate their contributions.

How do you encourage informal leadership?


photo from iStockphoto.com


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Quote for Dec 13th

The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.
Henry A. Kissinger

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Leadership by Example

Yesterday I listened to a Scout Master apply the Boy Scout Law to going back to school.  I loved how he put it in terms the kids could relate to and let them know as scouts they should be the example for others to follow.  As I reflected on this approach I realized these same words should be used to define a leader.  Leading by example is something we all do each and everyday so applying these will help you become a leader who others will want to follow.  Here’s my take on it for leaders everywhere.

Trustworthy – A leader keeps their promises and is honest.  People can depend on them.

Loyal – A leader is true to their team, their department and their company.

Helpful – A leader cares about the people around them.  They help others without expecting anything in return.

Friendly – A leader is accessible to all.  They offer guidance to everyone and respects them even when they are of a different generation, race or religion.

Courteous – A leader is polite in all their dealings.  Professional behavior in all settings makes it easier for people to get along.

Kind – A leader treats others as they want to be treated.  Brutal words and actions, without good reason, will breed contempt.

Obedient – A leader exemplifies the code of ethics of their company and upholds their country’s laws of doing business.   They seek change where rules are unfair instead of disregarding them.

Cheerful – A leader has a positive attitude.  They look for the bright side of every situation to keep their team engaged and working productively.

Thrifty – A leader is careful with company funds and uses resources wisely.  They manage their time well and works with their team to develop good management skills in each person.

Brave – A leader will take a stand for what is right and will make the tough decisions, acting even in the face of adversity.

Clean – A leader keeps their workspace clean and their mind sharp.  They associate with those who have the same high standards and will expect their team to live by those standards as well.

Reverent – A leader honors and respects their team and organization.  They care deeply about the well-being of all who work with them.  They embrace the strength that comes for the diversity of those around them.

Keeping these in mind and acting consistently will demonstrate the behavior you want from you team.  However you act will be noticed, you lead by example whether you know it or not.  It’s up to you to choose the example you will provide for your organization.


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Leadership Quote

Over the next week I will be sharing some quotes with you while I’m moving to our new home.  Hope you enjoy. 

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Quote for July 3rd

If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect.

Benjamin Franklin

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