Life without Leaders

Can groups function without leadership?

One of my connections on LinkedIn posed an interesting question that got me thinking.

Can a Leaderless Organization Succeed?

It really got everyone thinking about what Leadership really is. Whether you’re a manager, salesperson or employee this can have an impact on you and your future.

So what is this Leadership concept all about? What makes one person a leader and others a follower? Which are you and why? ……

The person who posed the question is a “Futurist” by the name of Frank Feather, from Toronto, Canada.

With the changes in technology, how companies are linked through this technology and cultural changes is Leadership still the same?

There are well over 30 responses to Frank’s question, with about as many views. So as a salesperson, manager or employee how do we rate as a leader? Here are a few points to ponder.

Responsibility: You have talents, knowledge and skills. When they are needed by the organization to get things done, do you step forward and offer them? When you do apply your abilities, do you also take responsibility for the outcome? The Leader does, others usually hold back, blame, point fingers or other none productive activity.

Trust in others: This is the one challenge seen in many smaller business owners. The owner feels they need to do it all; even if they are no good at “it”. Thus they spend time and energy doing things they should not be doing while the areas where their real talent could blossom, is left to flounder. Leaders trust others and allow them to apply their talents for the good of the group and vision. Are you willing to delegate to others and allow them to get it done their way?

Vision: Many followers have a challenge seeing the big picture or the future view. The ability to see past today’s issues and problems and present this future to others is a very strong leadership ability. Salespeople need to apply this skill everyday when working with their clients; at least the high producers do! Managers and even parents can provide stronger leadership by communicating the vision on a regular basis. People need something to buy into, can you communicate a vision?

Courage: This can be a big one! When the question is asked, are you the one that wants to stand up, yet doesn’t and talks about the issue in the hall? Leaders are motivated by filling a need. Ego can also be part of it, yet good leaders have more than just Ego at work. Everyone has barriers to cross or overcome. When people can see a vision on the other side and someone to cross that barrier first, they will follow! Social Acceptance and group think behavior require one person to take the first action. Then the rest follow!

Listening: Yes there can be a group of one with the one as the leader. Even in this situation the leader has to listen to their inner self as well as the environment around them. The ability to really listen to others and understand not just the words, but the feelings and emotions as well, gives a leader insight. This insight can provide motivation, solutions and teamwork that might otherwise be overlooked. When you listen, what do you hear? Just the words or do you get a much deeper understanding of the person and who they are?

Problem Solving: Once more this is a skill area that many feel needs to be kept close to the vest. They may be concerned about how others may view them, seem weak or not a real leader if they can not solve the problem on their own. In reality no one has all the answers. Being able to pull in a multiplicity of ideas, have a conversation about these ideas and then acting upon the best is a leadership skill of the highest caliber. This takes all of the previous mentioned attributes to carry out.

Awareness: Are we so busy some days we don’t even know what time it is much less what day it is anymore? Leaders understand they have to step back and view the landscape in order to avoid being drawn into the “busyness” of the day. As you listen to your inner voice, is it saying “I have to get this done now” or is it saying “What is the most important thing I should be doing now?”. As a salesperson are we focusing on just the next sale, or are we looking longer term for our customers and company? As managers, are we looking just at the desk full in front of us or are we able to see past the “workload” and seek solutions?

There is more to just these skills and attitudes to be a leader, yet everyone has the opportunity to be one and reap the rewards that come with it.

It simply takes a choice on your part!

It simply takes a choice to step out past where you are today!

It simply takes a choice to take action when the feeling says you should!

Ponder it for today.

Looking forward to seeing you as a leader!

Harlan Goerger

© Harlan Goerger 4-2008

Author's Bio: 

With over 25 years of training and business consulting, Harlan has worked with all types of companies and business in developing stronger leadership, management and sales. He is the co-author of The Selling Gap, Selling Strategies for the 21st Century.