In Part 1, I shared with you how a seasoned executive was able to succeed early in her new position by demonstrating leadership. Sometimes more junior employees, or those without staff to manage, don’t realize how much real leadership they can demonstrate in their jobs as well. Regardless of your level, seek to mentally put aside for a moment your specific management responsibilities– the things you have to get done. Then take a fresh look at how your job could add value to the organization. Start asking yourself questions about your specific job tasks, such as:
• Why are we doing things this way?
• How could this be done better? What are the alternatives, pros and cons?
• What are the obstacles to an improved way of doing things?
• Where is the proper place for these tasks?
• When should this be done, or how often?
• Who should be more involved to make for a better outcome?
In answering these questions, you may hit upon a vision for a better way of doing things that you could seek to influence others to adopt: the two core aspects of leadership.
For example, I worked with a client, Stephan, who had among his job responsibilities running reports and distributing them. One might think that doing a good job simply means running the reports on time, making sure there are no errors, and then quickly distributing them to the recipients. This is all true.
But, I asked Stephan challenging questions about this task, to see if there were ways that he could be providing greater value for his company. For example, why are all these reports necessary– can money be saved by eliminating some? What’s the best way for a report to be sent out? Who should these reports go to? How could these reports be improved– is the correct information on them, and are they easy to understand? Do they really need to be produced weekly, or would monthly work?
From the answers to these questions, Stephan began to develop a vision of more efficient and effective reporting. He sold this vision into his boss and ended up leading a successful reporting task force that reduced reporting costs by half, and did wonders for his performance review!