one step up

Posted on Thursday.10.8.2009



One of the things that I think about constantly is the idea of “leadership without position/title.” As I continue to really figure out what that means, I’ve determined one of the quickest ways to make an impact for your team, no matter where you are in an organization: help bring someone up to the next step.

Change in any organization is a long process. If you can help one person get to their next step, I think you would have helped change your organization in a significant way. This doesn’t require a position or hierarchy. It can come from the title of smallest influence to the title of largest influence. That next step looks different for every individual, the key is to identify and empower that person to take the next step even if they don’t see it in front of them. It’s not about getting them up to where you are, but pushing them up to a height they didn’t think they could reach.

Quick tips for bringing someone up:

  1. Embrace the new: even in just my second year of teaching, I was always looking for ways to help new first-year teachers acclimate, feel a part of the team and make their first year more than survival. If you can embrace the new hire, no matter their experience level, you’ve impacted change. Find ways to make the new team members feel like the’ve been there forever.
  2. Feed the hungry: though we should all be doing this in a global sense, in an organizational sense there are always people who are hungry to lead, to learn and to grow. Identify the hungry in your organization and invite them to take that one step up. These are the easiest people to empower, feed the beast and watch it grow up into a monster.
  3. 9th hour leadership: there will be a good amount of time when taking that person to the next step up will have to happen outside of the “normal” hours of the job. Whether it’s in building the relationship or harboring trust, there will come a time when the work day just won’t do it.
  4. Befriend the jaded: every organization has it’s complainers. Simply building their trust and creating a positive work environment for them will create significant change in your organization.

Change in an organization takes a long time. What’s worse is that most people are allergic to it. If you bring your team member one step up you’ve not only created change for your organization but allowed the team member to choose change for themselves.

Posted in: leadership, vision, work