Last week Monday, I started a series on “the leadership attitude” and today, I am going to be rounding it off. I started by profiling to you things you can do to influence people without being a leader. You do not need to be a positional leader to impact on people positively. You do not need to be a positional leader to be of tremendous help to your team members. And you do not need to be a positional leader to share ideas on how team members can overcome their obstacles.
You can keep your team members going by helping them make their job part of a larger success of the organization. After all, group goals only matter if they further the company’s overall goals. Keep the connection in mind, and help others “get” the connection. Even a janitor enables a company’s success by freeing people to work without the distraction of maintaining their space. There is pride to be taken; help them take it.
When you help people find their pride and become more successful, they will start supporting you in return. Over time, you will find more people taking you seriously. You will have the support to make audacious suggestions, have people nod in agreement, and get the attention of the people who can make your ideas happen. Remember that the boss and the boss’ boss are important co-workers! Know their motivations, hot buttons, and goals. Read your company’s annual report. Be able to talk their language. When your ideas start making it higher in the organization, you want them to be hearing their own success in your words. Without this groundwork, you risk triggering territory wars—not a pleasant prospect.
On the condition that you keep a strong link to the company’s success and the success of the people involved, you may find yourself with the authority to match your responsibility sooner than you think. This principle works always and everywhere.
Lead by living the company’s values! You will succeed as a leader only if you are living example of your values. What causes do you champion? How do you behave with others? What decisions do you make? Now ask yourself what values your answers demonstrate. If those values do not align with your organization, change yourself or tone down your leadership aspirations. Values, if clear and consistent in behavior, are powerful glue that holds an organization together.
It may be tricky to identify your organization’s true values. Values are often unstated, and when they are discussed, the “espoused values” may not match how people really behave. The important values in the workplace often cluster around people, product, and organizational health.
Ethical values are the easiest to identify, make the most powerful statement, and carry the greatest risk. Not long ago, at Stanford Graduate School of Business, incoming MBAs were discussing their experiences with ethical issues on the job. Two members of the group had taken major ethical stands at their companies as junior employees. One had championed workplace safety, while the other had asked her company to forgo investing in an ethically dubious company. Fortunately, both had been successful in their causes.
That isn’t always true. “Whistle blowers” may get tremendous respect from our private selves, but they are rarely appreciated by society at large or in the organization whose secrets they reveal. There is a fine line between championing values by living them and stepping over the line and “betraying” your company. Oddly, people react more intensely to an employee “betraying” their company than a company betraying its employees (or society). I do not know when companies became more important to us, emotionally, than our people and communities, but that is how we react.
You have to decide where your line is in stepping up with your values. Remember, leadership is not about titles. It is about behavior. If you live your values, take care of your organization and its people, and step up to the plate with responsibility, you will be a leader in the true sense of the word. Your title won’t matter. Your influence, the respect you garner, and the success you bring will be the true proof of your leadership.
As I begin to coast home, you need to understand that to become a leader; you have to develop the attitude of not accepting the status-quo. Leaders do not maintain the status-quo! Remember, just because things have always been done that way, it does not follow that it is still the right way today. You have a responsibility to step up and shake things up when you believe the time is right. How do you know when the time is right? You notice that productivity is dropping, work has stalled, or the morale of the team has dropped. You notice that no one knows what to do or is prepared to start change. The status-quo is doing you no favors at all!
Lastly, people with leadership attitude do not wait for change to come along. They make it happen! They are the change. They show up and step up. They rock the world and make it exciting. They show that change is possible and it won’t break you, so what is leadership attitude? It is the way you see yourself, the way you see the leadership role and the way you interact with people around you. It is in what you want and how you plan to get it. It is in how you take your people along the journey with you, and achieve success together.
Do you have leadership attitude? If yes, then it’s high time you stood up and make things happen in Nigeria, Africa and across Planet Earth. Till I come your way next week Monday—see you where successful leaders are found.Read Full Story