In business it is assumed that if you are in a position of power then you are automatically labelled a leader.
But you and I know this is not necessarily the case. Sometimes you have to lead without being the boss – and sometimes that’s a part of ‘managing up’.
How many times have you felt that your boss doesn’t have the ability or skill set to lead? Or that you haven’t been given the opportunity to show your true leadership capabilities?
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So how can you lead from below and from within a department or company without upsetting the corporate hierarchy?
1. Watch and learn
Observe the skills of the people around you. Who would you consider leaders and who would you consider managers? Learn what you can from the leaders and develop relationships with them. You want to be associated with fellow leaders.
2. Have a vision
Develop your own vision. Yes, it needs to be in line with the overall company vision, but you should develop one for your department and team and communicate with them clearly.
3. Speak like a leader
Start using leadership vocabulary. Leaders don’t say “I, maybe and if”, they say “we, yes/no and let’s do it”. Make sure you use this vocabulary in all situations, with your team as well as in other meetings. Make sure the superiors within your organisation also see you speak this way.
Leaders are the masters of delegation. You need to let go without the fear of losing your job. Delegate what you can to who you can. This will free up your time to see the big picture, make big decisions and guide the team or project. If you don’t have a team then delegate across departments or outsource. Either way, it is a sign of a true leader.
You can’t be a leader without being a teacher. Take every opportunity to teach the people around you (whether they are above you or in another department). Don’t be afraid to share what you know so as other people can grow. Remember, they can’t be you so don’t worry about teaching them a skill set you know. This only means you can then delegate to them in the future.
Leaders are confident in what they are doing and where they are headed without necessarily believing in it themselves to begin with. If you don’t believe in what you are doing no one else around you will. People will notice — they most likely won’t say anything, but they will notice.
7. Take responsibility
Be the first person to take responsibility for both the good and the bad. Don’t hide a mistake or shy away from blowing your own (and your team’s) trumpet. Just don’t get stuck on it. Leaders move on quickly from mistakes and successes… onto the next thing.
Amanda Rose is the only ‘strategic connector’ in Australia, a brand strategist, speaker, host of Amanda Rose TV, founder and CEO of The Business Woman Media. Quoted as an “internet winning blogger” by TIME.com. Follow Amanda on Twitter.