As you may be aware, I have recently given up my old day job to concentrate on my website full time. It is something I have been working toward for the past seven years. However, yesterday, I was back at my old place of work running a time management workshop for the company. It is something I had offered to do before I left.
During the workshop, we were talking about the subject of leadership and the fact that you don't need to have the job title of 'leader' or 'manager' in order to be able to exercise leadership. What you do need however, is a vision. A difficulty for many people is that, if they do not have the formal title, they will often not see their role in that light i.e. they do not think it is their job to come up with a view of how things could be done differently or better at their place of work.
But if we have the will, the ability to lead is within us all. As I often point out, you can be an effective person in an ineffective organisation. You need to have vision and it needs to fit in with the corporate vision and, if you do have people who report to you, you also need to get them to see how what they are doing fits in with the corporate vision - all of that is exercising leadership.
When people have complete clarity over how their own roles are contributing to the corporate mission and when they understand that, although they may be a tiny cog in the organisation, nevertheless they play an important part without which the organisation would flounder, then you are on the road to significant improvement. When people, additionally, actually care about the mission then it is amazing what can be accomplished.
It reminds me of a little story I once heard regarding someone visiting a stone quarry. When he asked a couple of the stone masons what they were doing, one mason replied, "I am cutting stone blocks." But a second mason replied, "I am helping Sir Christopher Wren to build a cathedral." What a difference; and that is a wonderful illustration of what is meant by the above.
So do remember that these two things are very important for managers and leaders. If that is your role, then make sure you address these specific points. People need:
A mission that they care actually aboutClarity over how their role impacts the mission
If you do not have the formal title of 'manager' or 'leader', remember that you can still influence people around you and you can still influence the organisation. In order to do so, you must first believe that you can. Quite simply, people who don't believe they can make a difference usually don't even try, so having that belief is very important if you are to impact the organisation.
Whatever you do, give it your best. Have a vision even if it is just for your own role. Think about how you can do things better and commit yourself to improving the situation you find yourself in. You will get promoted or you will attract a better job, because, quite simply, the universe has a habit of rewarding the people that do this.
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Will Edwards is Founder of http://www.whitedovebooks.co.uk/