Skip to main content

Leading From Below

| March 13, 2007

by Jim Bruce

In the March 3, 2007 issue of The Wall Street Journal’s Journal Report there was an interesting piece by James Kelly and Scott Nadler titled “Leading From Below.”  They note that CEOs — and I would add leaders in general — cannot change organizations on their own.  They suggest that the secret is to foster a leadership mentality throughout the ranks.  The authors have several suggestions:

• Make a decision to be a leader, don’t wait to be told.

    – become less essential to the doing of routine work;  free up time and energy for leadership, unlock staff potential

    – become aware of signals from outside your organizational unit and your organization.

• Focus on influence, not control – enlist your staff in a common cause.

    – adopt the perspective of the people you are trying to influence.

    – don’t hoard information, share it.

    – aim to influence existing work processes;  don’t build new ones

    – don’t worry about being proved right

    – keep things clear and simple

    – keep a sharp focus.

• Make your mental organizational chart horizontal rather than vertical – connect with peers, make them your focus group.

• Work on your trusted advisor skills:

    – turn conversations into meaningful discussions that make people seek you out

    – listen more than you talk

    – ask questions that broaden people’s perspective

    – share what others have seen and done in similar circumstances

• Don’t wait for the perfect time, just find a good time.

    – don’t wait for an invitation

    – look for situations where complacency has been disturbed

You’ll find the piece at, .


Have a great week.  .  .  .  .  .     jim