Leadership Without Position

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People have told me, on numerous occasions, that they are not in a position of leadership. They don’t have the title or have anyone reporting to them. How could they ever consider themselves a leader? Some of the best leaders, and some of the most interesting ones to watch, are the ones who don’t have a budget, a group or team to lead, but have an impact on the success of a business or organization.

Many leadership roles are easy to identify and they typically fit the roles most people think of when discussing leadership and leading. Here are just a few of the traditional leadership roles:

  • Positional Leadership. This is the easiest role to spot and understand. A person assumes leading by the position they hold. The owner of a company or the president of a bank are examples of positional leadership. They have achieved those those positions by hard work and experience. The position requires them to make decisions that impact people and the organization’s success. Some do it well, and others are lacking.
  • Knowledge Leadership. Some would call this expertise or “expert knowledge” about a topic or subject. The person has a great understanding and in-depth knowledge. If you were lost in the woods with a group of people and one person in the group was trained as a survivalist and had the expertise and understanding of what to do in that situation, the group would more than likely follow the expert’s lead and suggestions.
  • Credibility Leadership. This type of leadership is not positional or knowledge leadership, but rather describes a person over a lifetime who has built a reputation and credibility in a community. The person’s insight and counsel are sought after and valued. Credibility in a community. The person’s insight and counsel are sought after and valued. Credibility leadership does not happen instantly, which is hard for millennials and Generation Z to understand. The role has been developed over decades of work and effort.

So how does a person influence and lead a business or organization without a title, budget or designated group or department? There are a couple of key things that describe these kinds of leaders:

  1. Credibility. People who lead without position show they understand problems and solutions and have a proven track record of getting things done. They understand what will drive success and what is a waste of time.
  2. Enthusiasm. People who lead without position have enthusiasm and are excited and positive people. They radiate good vibes, and people come away energized spending time with them.
  3. Encouragement. People who lead without position are encouragers and connectors. They help people in the business or organization bring new ideas. They help others succeed. They become mentors to many people and have an influence on people within the organization, for the positive.

Leading without a position is one form of ultimate leadership. The process is amazing to watch and the people who can lead, without a position, have phenomenal skills and are to be copied as much as possible.

See you in Mcallen!

As Featured in the Monitor December 3, 2017