Leading From The Middle

Enter [what’s been on my mind]

Lead from the middle box of crayonsLeadership is important, and among the ever-changing workplace, a new kind of leadership has emerged.  The traditional model of hierarchical top-down leadership is effective, but this different type of leadership includes people from the bottom up.  Empowering people to lead gives them more than just another responsibility – it gives them authority and assures them of their value.

Blink [see a new perspective]

Leadership is not positional.  Some business models have adapted the servant leadership approach, acknowledging that leadership is more about relationships and influence than it is about control.  Some even argue that leadership comes more from the middle of an organization than it does from the top.  Fast Company posted a recent article which states that organizations need not one, but multiple leaders in order to “steer their companies, and modern business, toward more sophisticated models.”

Shift [try it out]

Even if you’re not the head of an organization, you can still influence those that you work for, those that work with, and those that work for you.  Leading from the middle is not only effective, but necessary.

Listen [hear from our community]

I’ve observed a lot about leadership over the years; some by being led, some by successfully leading and some by failing. What is clear to me is that there is no single way to lead. Sometimes leadership is so transparent and effusive that everyone is inspired and magically moves as a group in the “right” direction. Other times the leadership is overt – giving strong and obvious directions that everyone must follow, in a silent single-file-hand-to-shoulder-march in order to be brought safely out of harms way.  A good leader knows how to fit the leadership style to the circumstance. 

-Howard Mahran, CEO and Founder of Deep Domain

4 replies
  1. Peter Chee
    Peter Chee says:

    Annie, I really enjoy your thought leadership on this topic. While some people frown at the term “servant leadership” like it’s some sort of weakness I believe that it’s completely opposite of that. I believe that you have to look after your people, put them first, treat them like family and help nurture them to become leaders.

    Three years ago in my Entrepreneurial Masters Program I was instructed managers seek followers and authority. The best leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders. Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why”, gave a TEDx presentation and said a leaders responsibility is makes sure their employees understand their own strengths and values… and the only way they will learn this is if they are in a situation to fail. If they fall down you help them get back up. If they fall down again you help them get back up until they learn to get up on their own.

    “You are not a leader because you own the company. You are not a leader because everyone reports to you… You are a leader when the people that you serve are your employees.” – Simon Sinek

    I completely agree with you — Leadership is not positional. Thank you so much for writing this post!

    Reply
    • Annie Vander Pol
      Annie Vander Pol says:

      And thank you for modeling this so well! You are excellent at creating value with your team, and giving us the authority to lead. I love that idea of not creating followers, but leaders.

      Reply
  2. Kat
    Kat says:

    Wonderful post, and absolutely agree with you Annie and Peter. I have been very interested in the topic of leadership lately, as I’m feeling this intense calling towards stepping into this role. I feel ever grateful and blessed to be coming into this position in this day and age, when leadership can truly be defined by the value I provide to those around me.

    Reply
    • Annie Vander Pol
      Annie Vander Pol says:

      Thank you, Kat. That’s exciting that you are feeling called to lead, and it sounds like you are stepping into that role with humility and boldness. Best of luck!

      Reply

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