Many young professionals are gunning for a management position. I’m sure you can think of at least one person right now who falls into that category. This person wants the opportunity to put Maxwell’s leadership theories to work, or to use Patrick Lencioni’s theories on building and leading teams. You can use these theories now in your current position, I promise. This desire for a management position can come from the thought that you can only make change if you’re in a position that has you “managing” people. A true leader should lead from whatever position they have. There isn’t some unspoken rule within leadership that says you have to be a manager to be a leader. I think the person who doesn’t hold a management position and can still lead people is even more fit to be a leader. It speaks volumes about a person’s character when people choose to be lead by someone who is leading from their non-management position.
In an article titled, leading from within by Jason Diamond Arnold, he says, “The business literature of the 80s and 90s, before the digital age dramatically changed the face of the workplace, often preached management and leadership as synonymous with one another.” I’ve spoken with many professionals who share this common misconception that you have to be a manager to be a leader and create change. Yet, many people are leaders and don’t manage anyone. I think we all know someone who’s a wonderful leader, but doesn’t hold a management position. These types of leaders, the ones who lead authentically from their current position, still have the ability to make change within their own organization.
The approach that you can lead from wherever you are is something I try to exemplify to those around me. Everyday, I come to work prepared to work hard and create projects that take me out of my comfort zone. Often times I’ll connect with colleagues that I know are looking to get mo
re involved in the community and ask them to join me in these “reach” projects as I call them. By looking for opportunities that help you grow, other people will be inspired by these actions. You’ll notice an increase in people seeking your advice and asking for your assistance.
Here are my tips on things you can start doing today to display your ability to be a leader from your current position.
1. Create something for your organization that will make it better. Do it just because you believe in the project not because you think you’ll gain something for it. It’s not about you, it’s about the students. If you’re reading this and thinking “I don’t have time to create something.” You do have time, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish by staying off social media during working hours.
2. Talk to people. Invite them to lunch, coffee, tea, whatever, just talk to people! Find out what inspires them and then help them channel that inspiration into something. It could be starting a new club, creating a workshop, or traveling to a conference to speak. Help other people be successful. Remember, it’s not all about you!
3 . Say yes when you want to say no out of fear. There are only two reasons you should say no to project invitations.
Because you don’t have the time.
When you don’t believe in the project.
All other times, say yes. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll grow from the things you did all from saying yes. When you grow as a leader, the people around you will grow as well. This one’s about you, enjoy it!