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.
I 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.
Hanel 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.
Hanel 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.
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