How do you lead when you’re not in charge? If you believe that leadership is influence, as leadership guru John Maxwell teaches, then you don’t have to be in charge to lead. Leadership is needed at every level of the organization. For better insight on this, read Maxwell’s book, The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization.
And think about this, almost always in any organization you’re not the top guy, gal, officer, or chief. Even if you are on top, you still have someone you report to, like city council members and the citizens in your community. So really, you always have others you are accountable to.
There’s almost no time when you don’t have a boss or someone to report to. So your position has very little to do with the influence that you exercise within your organization. Some of the most influential people I’ve known were not in positions of authority (we referred to Driver-Operator Buddy Yarbrough as “Senior Jake“). On the other hand, I can think of many who had the position of authority and they had no influence because they were just knuckleheads.
So, position and influence are two different things. Be like our Senior Jake Buddy Yarbrough, and just lead.