Developing Your Influence From Anywhere In The Organization

Developing Your Influence From Anywhere In The Organization

Does that sound familiar? For those of you that are part of our 360 Degree Leadership group, that should sound very familiar since it’s the subtitle of the book we’re reading. If it doesn’t sound familiar, then you’d better get reading!

This book is awesome. It’s not theory – it’s real stuff you can use right now. All the teachings are backed by people who’ve used the ideas. As I read, I find myself agreeing with a lot of its principles, but I’ve also gotten quite a few “Ah-Ha” moments that explain things that I didn’t quite understand when they were happening. It’s some of those things I want to talk about.

Although I’m still in the first half of the book, there’s a quote in the beginning that really jumped out at me:

“To do nothing in the middle is to create more weight for the top leader to move. For some leaders – it might even feel like dead weight. Leaders in the middle can have a profound effect on an organization.”

When I was running a branch for a large mortgage outfit in the southeast, one of my team leads was doing an excellent job. When the opportunity came available to open another office, she was our likely choice to set it up. While I felt good that I had partaken in her successful development, I also felt a little cheated because my “diamond in the rough” was being taken away. Now I was charged with finding her replacement.

That wasn’t an easy task.

I had high hopes for the person I hired.

Much different then her but lots of sales and operations experience, and he interviewed great. In fact, we gave him two tests and put him through 5 interviews, and we all agreed he was a good choice. There was a little concern about his laid back personality, but nevertheless, we brought him on board and were excited about the future.

Two weeks into his assignment, I started getting complaints. Now some of you may think that two weeks was too short a time to decide on feedback, but trust me, it was coming from all areas. He wasn’t responding to emails, phone calls, or doing the work his position required. When people would approach him for help, he’d yes them to death but do nothing. After several meetings and several failed attempts to improve, I had to fire him.

What he was doing was exactly what Maxwell was talking about in his quote above. He was creating more “weight to move” for not just me as the main leader, but for all the other leaders he worked with around him. Consequently, morale suffered, and then service suffered. It was at that point I made the decision to let him go.

The other area this quote could be applied to is when you have a potential leader that walks the line as to whether or not he/she wants to be a leader.

The drama goes like this:

  • You see potential leadership in someone, you watch them, you talk to them about their aspirations, you test them a little, they do well, you decide you want to invest your time and energy into developing them, you test them again, and then they fail. Then you talk to them, get them pumped up again, test them, and they succeed, invest more time and energy, test them again, and they fail.
  • You do this 2-3 more times, hoping they’ll decide once and for all, and they finally pull out and ultimately decide they don’t want to be a leader. Each time you do this with someone, you’re creating more weight for yourself and everyone around you.

So if you’re the leader in the middle of the organization or the leader at the top, look for these things as you develop people. And, by the way, if you’re not the CEO, President, Owner, or Chairman, you are in the middle.

Like I said earlier, this book is full of nuggets for anyone who aspires to be a leader or who develops other leaders. Read on and learn. As for me, you’ll hear from me as I read more.

Posted by on July 13, 2008