Anyone can lead, it isn’t about having authority, it’s about gaining trust & respect through the correct behaviour
I always believed and pushed for a flat hierarchy in my business structure… and yes I realise that a flat hierarchy is an oxymoron, but it’s a great way to express my approach to organising my business structure, as the entire thing is built upon respect & trust and not meaningless job titles! (a pet peeve of mine!)
We had a very British contract for all staff including myself, it contained the sentence, “Everyone Makes The Tea” what that meant, was everyone within the business was an equal, anyone & everyone was free to suggest & implement new ways of doing things, but on the flip side they were expected to perform the most mundane tasks, if they saw something was amiss, it was up to them to deal with it, not simply pass it on to someone else, it was all about being pro-active and not re-active.
We started off with a policies & procedures document, but we got rid of it in the end, as it was simply full of rules, thus limitations. I’d sooner have a frame work that everyone can work within, than hard and fast rules of what must and must not be done.
There are the nay sayers, those that say this approach never works, that you will simply end up in chaos (Anarchy is a great thing until you need a plumber!), but I disagree, allowing autonomy to flourish instills a culture of respect for those working with you (not for you), it’s highly rewarding, and you might be surprised with the outcomes!
If you’re in a position of authority, running a company or a manager etc whenever you ask someone to do something, ask yourself this, “If you weren’t the boss, would your staff still follow your lead or take your advice?”, if the answers are “unlikely” or “no”, then you need to change what you’re doing.
Dwight Eisenhower defined leadership as “Convincing someone, to do what you want, because they want to do it.” Sounds simple when you put it like that, but how do you convince someone, that what you want, is in their best interest plus something they will be willing to do time & time again? See How to be a leader
A key element is trust, of course trust takes time & effort to build, but trust is only the start, it can only achieve so much, the goal is to gain mutual respect. As with trust, respect takes time & effort to achieve, but unlike trust, respect must be a two way street, to earn respect you have to give it.
Anyone can lead, it isn’t about having authority, it’s about gaining trust & respect through the correct behaviour.