Individual Contributor and Leader

  |   Leadership Print Friendly and PDF

Last week, in “A New Boss who Shouldn’t Be,” I described how Susan learned
that being a boss wasn’t a job that was right for her. Even though that’s true,
she’s a leader, no matter what position she holds. 

There are plenty of available definitions of “leadership” and
if there’s one that helps you do your job better, then that’s the one for you.
But, as a practical matter, the only definition of “leader” that holds up to
close scrutiny is also the simplest: a leader is someone who has followers.

By that definition Susan was and is a leader. She’s smart and savvy and she
works hard. That’s how she’s mastered the details of her own job and it’s the
way she’s learned how what she does affects the team.

The result is that she’s liked and people listen to what she has to say. She
uses what she says to influence the behavior and performance of others.

Susan also sets a good example. She works as hard as anyone on the team. She
produces great work product and they know she’ll pitch right in to help them
when they need it

Susan’s not a boss, and probably never will be a boss. But she is a leader.
She uses her behavior to influence the behavior and performance of others. And
she has followers who pay attention to what she says and what she does.

Boss’s Bottom Line

You want people like Susan on your team and there’s good news on that front.
You can help them develop. Imagine! You could have a whole team of
leaders!

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