Leaders can only succeed if they are able to influence people at various levels in relation to them; above, below and side-by-side. Leadership is influence and every leader has the opportunity to influence people at every level of a business, corporation or organization. At The John Maxwell Company, we call this leading from the middle of the pack!
Your ability to lead your peers is the difference maker in your ability to create an optimal performing team. Depending on your position and the size of your company or team, you may find that many people fall into this category. Good leaders lead followers well, only great leaders lead other leaders well.
I have learned that you never reach a position that it is not important to learn how to influence peers and other leaders. This is as true for me as CEO of The John Maxwell Company as it was in earlier stages of my career.
Here are leading across principles that have helped me grow as a leader:
Complete versus Compete – The best way to earn influence with a peer is to support their idea and not try to compete with their ideas. I am a very competitive person, but I have learned that competing with teammates can bring out the worst in everyone. I am more effective when I leverage my work performance and commitment to complementing and enhancing their goals/objectives. The team gets more complete ideas and my teammates are stretched.
Expand Your Circle – Every good leader increases their influence by meeting new people and establishing new relationships. Great leaders connect their networks and expand the network of their peers. Learn to network from an abundance mindset. Introduce your teammates to your expanded network and look for ways to expose your peripheral relationships to your teammates.
Let the Best Idea Win – When you have worked alongside someone who puts this into practice, you know it immediately! They prefer someone else get the credit for the idea, they are vested in seeing everyone contribute in a “brainstorming” session and they usually speak last so they don’t “sway” the outcome by powering up during the strategy session.
To influence well, we must grow in our ability to lead across. Your challenge this month is to become a leader that leads other leaders. These are people that follow you because you have earned influence with them. They have willingly given you their respect and the permission to lead them.
How are you effectively leading from the “Middle of the Pack”?