Leading from behind!
CAN I CALL you a `Leading follower' or a `Follower-manager?' Are you the kind of person who likes taking initiative, though you do not possess an ostentatious work-title?
You know what you can do, though you share your title with at least 25 other people! You could probably lead as a follower. No, I'm not playing with words or making you feel good unnecessarily. It is just an extension of a proverb we have heard since we were born, or at least say 16 years after that! "Leaders are born, not made." And, to be a leader, you do not need a title that weighs a million tonnes or sounds as grand as the botanical name of a rare plant!
All you need is a little honing of your leadership skills.
So, here go the tip!
Initiative: That is what distinguishes a leader from a follower. Take initiative to make your organisation a better place to work. It is not always the management's responsibility to do so. Here are some things you can do.
Celebrate everybody's birthday. A birthday is a happy occasion for all and your HR department would be able to provide you with the birth dates of your team. A simple greeting goes a long way and so does a celebration, even if it is a low-key affair.
Contribute to the newsletter. Most organisations already have a newsletter in place. Try contributing something to it, on your team's behalf. If you do not have a newsletter, put forward a suggestion to start one. You will be amazed at the response you get and the amount of team cohesiveness that it builds.
No `I', only `We'. Speak as a team when dealing with the management. It is the sign of a leader to delete the words `I', `me' and `myself' from his dictionary. It also makes more sense for the management to respond to a group's aspirations than to an individual's. This is especially true when the cause is something that affects the entire team or peer group. For example, upgraded training or more benefits.
Build team spirit. It is not always the team leader's prerogative to build team spirit. You can do your part by doing some very simple things such as coming up with a name for your team and a logo too. Actually, go ahead and make badges, and wear them proudly to work! Every space mission at NASA has its team members wearing its logo. You will be pleasantly surprised to know how effective a small piece of paper proves in building team spirit.
You could also probably suggest having weekly team games or team building exercises.
Mentor. All employees need some help when they join the organisation. Take the lead by mentoring those who join after you. Your experience will help them deal with new challenges. Introduce them to the organisation, particularly to your team. As a mentor, you can motivate them to greater levels of achievement. Indeed, handling problems will become easier for them and the management will surely appreciate your gesture.
Community work. Most organisations do have corporate responsibility aspects embedded in their policies. Now is your turn to make things happen! Take the responsibility upon yourself to improve the organisation's ties with the community and build its brand image. Do not wait for the senior management to take the lead. Demonstrate your initiative, your drive and your leadership.
So, if somebody ever tells you that they `have it in them to be leaders', but their organisation did not give them a chance, tell them that we, not our organisation, create opportunities. A true leader will always be recognised, despite the rank he holds in his organisation.
What's more, all this will not only make one feel better but also make you `visible' in the organisation. If that is not good enough for you, do this simple exercise. Make a note of whose suggestions are more readily accepted by the management? Of course, the `follower-leader!' So, start leading, my friend!
Send this article to Friends by