Be a Leader, Even When You’re Not in Charge

I often partner with CEOs in developing their emerging leaders.  Our goal is to let these talented people know their contributions are valued and increase their success for future leadership opportunities.

What does it take to be considered an Emerging Leader?

What are these people doing that sets them apart, not only in the eyes of business owners, but also their peers?  This is what I discovered while facilitating an off-site meeting for Meyer Design, an architecture and interior design company based in the Philadelphia area.

More than being a “Company Person”

It is more than being a “company person” or high performer.  It’s really about influence; doing the kinds of things that cause others to feel better about their work when you are on the team, and to choose to follow you when you offer direction or suggestions.

4 Ways You can be a Leader, even when You’re not in Charge

1.  Offer solutions with personal responsibility.

meyer2The workplace contains plenty of people who complain about problems in detail (aka chronic whiners.)  Influential employees identify problems, take them to people in power; and offer practical, thoughtful solutions while owning responsibility for the work that lies ahead.

2.  Think strategically and never stop learning.

You won’t be taken seriously if you operate in a small silo and ignore the organization’s strategic goals, its threats and opportunities.  Be committed to learning and adapting new skills as the business and industry evolves.  Your colleagues and even the senior leaders will be counting on you to lead future change.

  3.  Be a “giver” of your resources and expertise.

Wharton professor and author of “Give and Take” Adam Grant writes, leaders with a “taker” mindset often view others as a threat and avoid sharing their knowledge and expertise.  While “givers” indulge none of these fears and choose to be extremely generous with their time and expertise while helping others succeed.  Givers often put the group’s interest ahead of themselves, they build deeper relationships and become highly valued within their organization.

4.  Shift your emotional intelligence into high gear.

Influential employees are calm when conflict is inevitable and resilient when things get tough. Communicate with empathy and collaborate with ease — are indications of emotional intelligence, which is a key to your leadership success.

In my work with Meyer Design, I will say this small group of individuals who are highly talented and value integrity and responsibility already are influential leaders, regardless of their titles.  And this I know for sure, you can lead from wherever you are.


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