It’s crazy to think someone could lead before anyone even knows the leader.
But it happens every day.
The bad news is that it doesn’t last very long. Maybe you’re there now.
John Maxwell calls it Level 1 Leadership. Nicholas Cardot and many others call it Positional Leadership. It simply means that you, by definition, become a leader when you are placed in a hierarchical position that is defined as a leadership position.
There are positive aspects. Followers are built into the equation by virtue of the fact they have already committed to being a part of the organization for this particular time-frame, so It gives you a chance to prove your mettle and value as a leader.
But there is a downside, since no one is yet following you for any reason other than your position. There is no other relationship. So, in order to succeed by anyone’s definition as positional leader you must quickly re-define yourself or risk losing your influence. More about that in my next blog.
So, as a positional leader, what are some of the things you can do to initially validate the fact you have a legitimate right to be leading in that position. Something other than the appointment. Establishing trust is the key and here are five necessary actions to build it.
- Have integrity. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Follow through consistently.
- Overcommunicate. In fact, Patrick Lencioni argues you cannot just communicate, but you must communicate and overcommunicate clarity. Your people must understand your meaning and your intent clearly and must hear it repeatedly.
- Don’t play favorites. Provide a mechanism to empower everyone down through the organization.
- Make decisions based on two priorities. First, what is good for the company. Second, what is good for the employee(s). Those two priorities, if applied consistently, will inevitably inure to your benefit, as well.
- Begin immediately to build a team of key players around you. This can include those inside your organization, such as your Senior Leadership Team. It can also include people from the outside, such as financial and legal advisors, as well as an Executive or Leadership Coach. These people not only allow you to function more efficiently, but give you input that allows good decisions not undermined by your blind spots. And only the most arrogant argue they have no blind spots.
What do you think about these actions? Are there others needed? Communicate with the rest of us by leaving a comment. Also consider signing up to receive this blog as a subscriber and sharing with others.
In any case…thank you for reading.