Have you been in one of those situations where you are not the leader but you just want to make a  difference and help something to happen? Sometimes it’s because you are new on the scene or it may be due to a vacuum of leadership among those who are assigned to lead. Other times you simply are a member of a team and have limited authority.

Leadershp2I love the philosophy of leadership that Gary Hamel and Polly LaBarre espouse in a Harvard Business Review article I recently stumbled across.  The blog title was How to Lead When You Are Not the Leader. I loved the idea they were promoting when they stated, “you have to assume you have no power—that you aren’t ‘in charge’ of anything…if, given this starting point, you can mobilize others and accomplish amazing things, then you’re a leader. If you can’t, well then, you’re a bureaucrat.”

Wow! If you have to rely on a position or a role to define your leadership, you are just exercising bureaucratic power.  Bottom line, authentic leadership is all about influence and inspiring others toward change or accomplishment. I totally agree.

Leadership3Hanel and LaBarre write about the 8 attributes of individuals who inspire others and multiply their impact. In the above referenced article, they highlight these eight: Seers, Contrarians, Architects, Mentors, Connectors, Bushwhackers, Guardians and Citizens.

I quickly discovered that I lead best through being a Mentor and a Connector. I also have Seer and Architect attributes which have helped me envision what could be, then design and build an organization with systems that adequately helped it to grow and function. But that’s not the center of my sweet spot. I’m at the top of my game as a Mentor and Connector.

Leadership1Hanel and LaBarre describe me this way. Mentors, rather than hoarding power, give it away. They believe and act as if the primary role of a leader is to create more leaders. Connectors have a gift of spotting the right people who can combine ideas and visions with available resources.  They also help others achieve their dreams. Spot on. When I reflect, I think those two strengths and leadership attributes are my greatest legacy in the organization I started 28 years ago.

How about you? Are you a leader or a bureaucrat?  Are you able to lead through influence and inspiration when you aren’t the leader? Which of the 8 attributes are most typical of your leadership? Your leadership can leave a significant impact and legacy.

 

QUESTION:  Which attributes do you lead best with? Please share them below.

 

 

3 responses to How to Lead When You Are Not the Leader

  1. sharon43 on February 5, 2014 at 8:03 PM Reply

    At this stage in my life I am more and more involved in mentoring both formally and informally. There has been a lot of wisdom gained in the experiences of my life and I am always amazed when the Holy Spirit brings just the right memory to light to illustrate what is being shared. I love it!

  2. Flora Sanchez on February 5, 2014 at 10:40 AM Reply

    Great article!! I am a connector that I have the gift to find the right people to combine ideas and visions with the available resources. I also help others achieve their dreams and goals.

  3. Gregge Johnson on February 5, 2014 at 9:39 AM Reply

    I like the NO Power ,that is what Love is . When you do something for somebody else ,and not expect anything in return. ALL power is given by the LORD. Love is the action of NO Power!

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