Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Leading from the Middle"

In my company, we have two partners/owners, three Senior Division Managers, a Sales Manager, four admin, three sales people, a customer service manager, 36 consultants, and me... an Operations/Project Manager. I'm somewhere muddled with the Senior Managers/Sales Manager in a "loose" management team (working on that) and find myself working to lead down, lead across, and lead up everyday...

Yesterday I invited everyone to a local restaurant to celebrate my one year anniversary at the new job... To have a party? No. Because I love hanging out with big groups of people and socializing? No. My goal was simply to get to know my team, let them know in any way that I could that they matter, they contribute, to get to know more about them, their families, and to have some "real" conversations.... it was a great night.

I got home. The life was sucked out of me. I was grumpy to my wife. I just wanted to go to bed. I am not energized by people.

It made me think about leading from the middle... what if we decided one day to "flip the switch" and simply turn off our leadership responsibility? After all.... it's hard. What would that look like?
  • I could close my office door most of the time
  • I wouldn't have to be around people or talk to them near as much
  • I wouldn't look for opportunities to take on more responsibility
  • I could look for someone else to blame
  • I wouldn't have to work to find ways to encourage people
  • I wouldn't have to coach people in their roles and how to communicate with their team
  • I could simply focus on me, making sure I keep my job, do as little as possible, and let someone else worry about the things broke in the company... after all, it's not in my job description!

Who would notice? What impact would that have on the organization?

If you flipped the switch on your leadership where you're at.... would it be missed?

Leading from the middle often goes unrecognized. It's not easy. It's the harder path.

However, when we choose to lead and engage:

  • We build trust, overlap, and relationships with those around us
  • We will have more opportunities to have "real" conversations
  • Something will be "different" about us that people will be drawn to.. (it's not normal)
  • We are honoring God by modeling Christ in the workplace
  • We make it about others and not ourselves

And if we look over our shoulders....there just may be some people taking notice... I want to lead well. How about you? Are you in the middle?


dearabby said...

Wow... I caught this post off of Kem's page. Do church leaders know about this leadership philosophy? Good stuff.

Don Reynold said...

Wow. First time I read your blog and I'm almost knocked off my chair. This hits me right where I'm at. Excellent. Thank you.

Chester Goad said...

great post man.