Ron's Material Leadership Blog

It is my sincerest hope that the stories I share are helpful to others. I have experienced first hand that many people toil in obscurity, searching for answers, ashamed to reach out and ask for help. This blog will contain experiences and wisdom that I have gained over the years that I hope will offer guidance in dealing with some of life's challenges.

Why the name material leadership? If you are curious the answer is on my website.
The link on the side bar.

Lead well


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Leading from a Different Chair

In the past few weeks I have began to think that there are a few questions about leadership that should be addressed, prior to moving on to the purpose of a leader. We have spent a lot of time talking about what a leader knows about them self, what a leader thinks, and how they act. So before we go to purpose lets talk about these questions.

1. Do you have to be in charge to lead?

So, you have probably heard the old cliche that you don’t need authority to lead. No matter what position you hold in an organization, a leader can function in a leadership capacity regardless.

What do you think?

Do you believe this? Can a person in a clerical position for instance be a leader? Do they instead have to strive for the CEO job in order to make a difference?

See the need, collaborate on a plan, mobilize a team, see the future happen

No. You do not have to be the "#1" to lead. In fact if you think about it philosophically you always are following someone anyway. So in a sense the question is moot. Leaders lead from where they are now. They identify something that needs to be done, something that needs to change and they mobilize a group to make the change to better future. This could be something as simple as changing the type of coffee supplied in an office facility or something as complicated as creating am independent ministry to serve the poor in a community. See the need, collaborate on a plan, mobilize a team see the future happen

The “Grant” of Leadership

So if you can lead from “another” chair, what does that look like? Leadership is an activity that can be practiced by anyone. It is a sad state of affairs that so few people choose to. Obviously the degree to which you can exercise leadership changes with your position in the organization. An important point to make here is that leadership does not always have a clear power component. That is, often power is bestowed on the leader by the followers. This is not the case with management where power is a requisite part of the role.

Given this, we need to ask ourselves under what conditions will others grant us, either consciously or unconsciously the right to lead them. Remember there is no moment where they stop and grandly say “Sir will you lead us”. No it is subtle. Followers look to those who are a leader to answer tough questions, provide guidance under stress, to create a comfortable atmosphere.

What are the attributes that followers instinctively look for in a leader? Well that would be another post now wouldn’t it ;-)

Lead well

Ron H

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Thoughts on a Recent Read

The Dip by Seth Godin

This was the first of Mr. Godin’s books I have read and I must say it will not be the last. I enjoyed this book and found its message wise and on point for our age. The premise of the book is that there is a time to quit a role, project, effort and a time to stay. When we have the opportunity to be the very best and are willing to pay the price, it is time to stay. When it is clear that staying will result in mediocrity or worse yet (Mr. Godin’s term for a dead end) a cul-de-sac, it is time to move on to something where we can be our best. The dip is the place in between. The place where we face opposition, adversity and discouragement. It is here that many wrongly chose to give up when greatness is not that far away for the brave souls who persevere.

Complexity: Low

Length: Short

Compelling: Very much

Worthwhile: Definitely