Worried about a leadership shortage? Gazing at a thin management pipeline? Wondering how to get the most out of the talent you have?
It’s time to expand and amplify your organization’s leadership by looking beyond your proven superstars and management-track talent.
Young professionals and experienced individual contributors need to be part of the leadership equation, too. These overlooked leaders are the people who are working on project teams, influencing others and taking on ever-larger and more complex assignments.
Consider the role of highly experienced professionals. As individual contributors, they play critical roles as engineers, designers, medical professionals, marketing or logistics experts, and so on. They are expected to take on project-management roles and be key players on cross-functional teams. As their role expands and they increasingly work with others, subject-matter expertise is no longer a guarantee of their success or effectiveness.
Meanwhile, early-career professionals are looking for ways to engage, interact and gain skills. As they navigate their work and your organization, they have many opportunities to lead, even before they step into formal management roles.
Both groups are in the right place to leverage leadership skills, but they need the nod from you. So, here are four messages that you – and your fellow leaders – can send to the skilled experts, up-and-coming professionals and, in fact, the entire organization.
1. Think “process,” not “position.” Leadership is a process, not a title. It’s about leading with others in ways that establish direction, create alignment and build commitment. Rather than looking for someone else to be a leader, individual contributors need to ask themselves: “What am I bringing to the leadership process?” “How can I better facilitate the process of effective leadership in my group or in my project team?”
2. Understand Your Leadership Brand
3. Take Control
4. Your are Seen, Heard, and Valued
Joel Wright works on the Leadership Beyond Boundaries team at the Center for Creative Leadership. Joel works on projects aimed at "democratizing" leadership development by making it more affordable and accessible. As a part of this initiative Joel is championing early/youth leadership development.