The DNA of Successful Leaders: Tapping Your Natural Power to Win Friends and Influence Others
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That's just common sense. Likewise, an organization takes on the personality of its leader. He wanted to create an environment of empowerment where initiative and ownership were valued. People who demonstrated those characteristics were rewarded. And as long as Abrashoff was in command, the ship's environment exhibited those characteristics.
If you are a leader in the middle of an organization, assess your environment. Is it one that increases or decreases the Tension Challenge? Can you thrive in the kind of environment you're in with the level of tension it presents? Do the positive aspects of the organization outweigh the negative effects of the environment on you? An environment may be 33 fine for one leader but not for another.
Only you can make the assessment for yourself. Have you ever noticed the level of tension you experience when starting a new job? It's pretty high, isn't it? The less familiar the work, the greater the tension.
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If you don't know how to do the job, you're going to be stressed, even if you're a fast learner and have a teachable attitude. Even after you know how to do the work, if you have no idea what others' expectations are of you, you won't be on solid ground.
Only when you really have a handle on your job and you are good at your work does it reduce the tension of being in the middle. Someone once said, "What's causing so much disharmony among the nations is the fact that some want to beat the big drum, few are willing to face the music, and none will play second fiddle.
That's just the way it is. The greater your desire to receive credit and recognition, the more frustrated you are likely to become working in the middle of an organization. You need to decide for yourself if you receive enough satisfaction to keep you going where you are. It's not good enough to simply survive. You want to thrive, and to do that, you need to learn how to relieve the tension. Here are five suggestions: 1. The reality is that it's actually easier to lead from the middle — if a really good leader is above you. Good leaders at the top break ground for their people.
5 Leadership Lessons: Think Like Amazon
They create momentum for the entire organization. Haven't you seen average or even below-average leaders succeed because they were part of an organization that was led well overall?
Haven't you seen colleagues overachieve because their leader made them better than they were on their own? When you have excellent leaders, you don't need as much skill and energy to make things happen. You benefit from everything they do. So why not enjoy it — and learn from them too? I've long admired the following poem by Helen Laurie: How often I've been put to the test To make the best of second-best, Only to wake one day and see That second-best is best for me.
Being in the middle can be a great place— as long as you have bought into the vision and believe in the leader.
Communicating with Influence and Impact
So how do you get comfortable with the middle? Comfort is really a function of expectations. The wider the gap between what you imagine to be and reality, the more disappointed you are likely to be. Talk things out with your boss. The more you know about what's expected of you, what's normal in the organization, and how much authority you have, the more comfortable you will be. When I became the senior pastor at Skyline Church in California in , even before my first day, I found out what I had to own personally.
Even leaders at the top can still be in the middle — the board was my boss. I asked the members of the board to give me their short list of things I had to do that no one else could do for me. There were four things on that list: Take final responsibility. The buck stopped with me.
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I answered for whatever happened in the church. Be the main communicator. I needed to determine what was communicated during the services, and I needed to be in the pulpit most Sundays.
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Be the main representative of the church. I was to be the primary face and voice for the church, within the congregation, and to the community. Live a life of integrity. Author and entrepreneur Byrd Baggett defines integrity as "doing what you said you would do, when you said you would do it, and how you said you would do it. One of the best things you can do is ask what is expected of you, and then maintain a dialogue concerning expectations with the people to whom you answer.
Todd Mullins, who works on staff for his father, Tom Mullins, at Christ Fellowship in West Palm Beach, Florida, often found that ongoing communication helped them to resolve this tension in their somewhat fluid environment. Tom does a lot of speaking around the country, and when he would come back to the church, he would want to step back into leadership in some areas where others had been leading.
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Todd learned to ask, "Is this mine or yours? That made it possible either for Todd to step back as Tom stepped in, or for Tom to be gracefully reminded not to make a mess in an area where he didn't really want to lead. They experience the Tension Challenge to a high degree every day. I know that's true for my own assistant, Linda Eggers.
The people she interacts with on my behalf are very demanding. And for that matter, so am I. One of the best ways I can help Linda is to get information to her as quickly as possible. If she asks me a question, I try to give her an answer right then. When I am traveling and we haven't spoken in twenty-four hours, I call her. She always has a list of questions to ask and issues to discuss. If I don't keep her waiting, she can do her work much more effectively.
Leading Blog: A Leadership Blog
Everybody needs to find a way to get quick answers in order to succeed when caught in the middle. Sometimes that can be difficult, especially if the people you work for are not communicative. In such cases, you need to find others who can help you. That may take time. And it will require that you have good rapport with the people around you. As you develop the skill of Degree Leadership, it will become that much easier for you. That can mean abusing the power of your position, intentionally undermining your leader, or using the organization's resources for personal gain.
David Branker, executive director of a large organization in Jacksonville, Florida, said, "Trust is built one block at a time, but when it is violated, the entire wall comes crashing down. When you have been empowered with authority you exercise that on behalf of those you report to. It's never to serve your own interest.