In many ways, the whole idea behind Leading Without a Title is the democratisation of leadership. Yes, positions are important to the smooth running of any organisation (whether that organisation is a business or a community or a family).
Having said that, the new model of leadership (leadership 2.0) is all about every single stakeholder showing leadership in the work he or she does.
This is really all about distributed leadership. Every person who works within a business, for example, owns the responsibility of showing leadership at the craft. Every teammate is the chief executive officer of his or her own small business unit called a job.
Tactic No. 1
If you can’t lead yourself, you can’t lead others. We have no business leading others into greatness if our own personal lives are a train wreck. Being successful in the game of life precedes great leadership. Face whatever personal issues you’ve been avoiding head on and clean up on all fronts.
Tactic No. 2
Never make anyone feel as if there isn’t room in the lifeboat. No matter the mistake, no matter what mile a person is at on their road to mastery, always be ready and willing to throw a lifeline—lend a hand, offer insight, donate your time, run out for coffee. Winners understand that strengthening capacity at every level, in every person, is the way to win.
Tactic No. 3
Watch Invictus, Clint Eastwood’s excellent and entertaining reminder of great leadership, where Morgan Freeman performs as Nelson Mandela. The film teaches us how to eloquently execute astonishing acts of forgiveness, compassion and moving upward when circumstances and people hold the potential to yank you into victimhood.
Tactic No. 4
Stay strong. “Secure your oxygen mask first before assisting others.” Do you know where your oxygen comes from? Routine challenging exercise, healthy eating habits, sleeping deeply, and doing what makes me feel alive and excited is my oxygen. It’s what keeps me strong.
Refuse the lifestyle, the habits and the circumstances that weaken you. Great leaders don’t just own their full potential on the floor or in the field; they claim their potential in all domains of their life.
You can’t be great in one arena and mediocre in another. Mistrust will sniff you out and turn you in. Make it an immediate goal to get connected with your oxygen supply.
Keep leading without a title.
To watch “The Leader Who Had No Title” video click here.
Q & A on leading without a title
Q1: You advise the big players of this world on Leadership. What do you teach them first and foremost?
I advise them that the old model of leadership is dead. Look at Wall Street firms that have crumbled, organisations that have fallen and CEOs who were once revered, who have now lost face.
The new model of leadership is all about Leading Without a Title.
That doesn’t mean that titles and positions no longer matter. It simply means that any business that really wants to win in a time of dramatic disruption needs to build the leadership capability of every employee, at all levels.
This is Leadership 2.0. and organisations that don’t make the leap will end up obsolete.
Q2: Could your teaching also apply to the bosses of small and medium-sized companies?
Absolutely. The game-changing idea that the No. 1 competitive advantage in this time of radical change is building leaders at all levels not only applies to our FORTUNE 500 clients like Microsoft,
GE and NIKE INC., but to any business in the marketplace today.
In my book, The Leader Who Had No Title, I distil exactly what the best businesspeople and organisations are doing that most don’t.
These tactics include daily innovation, creating a base of fanatical followers who are your customers, building a Leadership Culture and promoting transparency.
Q3 What characterises a leader?
There isn’t just one thing that makes an exceptional leader – just like there isn’t just one thing that made Mozart exceptional or Picasso great.
The best leaders have a bias towards innovation, are ruthlessly focused on just a few things, have remarkable capacity to attract superb talent, have strong resilience in the face of turbulence and are often radically optimistic (while being wildly practical).
Q4 Is management a kind of vocation?
Management is obsolete. Any company that is serious about winning (or even staying alive) should stop thinking about management and start obsessing about leadership – especially the imperative of every employee Leading Without a Title.
Just imagine a company where every single employee worked like Roger Federer plays tennis. That’s what the whole Lead Without a Title philosophy is about.
Q5: Can we learn what it is necessary to become a good leader?
Absolutely. Exceptional leadership isn’t born – it’s built. The best leaders have trained and practised their craft. That’s good news for anyone in business today: all that stands between you and world-class is learning the science of leadership and then practising it every day to mastery.
Q6: Did the economic crisis change the expectations of companies towards leaders?
Of course. Given the behaviours of so many once-respected leaders, stakeholders are now demanding only the highest standards of performance, transparency and ethics of their leaders. In The Leader Who Had No Title, I wrote: “It could take you 20 years to build a great reputation and 20 seconds to lose it – in one act of bad judgement.”
Q7: Which are, according to you, the new important criteria for a Leader?
1. Leave our egos at the front door and do brilliant work that adds remarkable value for your customers.
2. Build a phenomenally great team. A mediocre team results in a mediocre company.
3. Innovate and disrupt the way you think and perform daily in hot pursuit of something even better.
4. Build deep relationships.
5. Be authentic and transparent. Winning companies show they are the real deal and live their brand.