Leading can be a disorientating experience, especially if you’re new to leadership. You start out believing you’re the boss and you get to make all of the decisions.
You’re quickly smacked back down to reality when you realize this is generally not the case.
Rarely will you be the head honcho. The lead dog. The man completely in charge.
Organizations are just not set up that way.
Rather, organizations are structures of leadership. You have ascending layers of people in charge.
This is why leaders need to begin thinking about leading from the middle.
Leading From The Middle
Leading from the middle can be challenging. You don’t know if you’re doing it right. You also feel like you could step on the toes of those above you. Or you may feel as if you’re stepping on those below you.
But you can lead from the middle. Here are 3 ways you can lead from the middle without feeling icky.
1. Share what you’re learning with those above and below you:
If you’re a leader, you’re learning. You’re growing in different areas and becoming better. What do you do with this extra knowledge?
Begin sharing it with your superiors and those you lead.
Talk about what you’re learning. Share how it has impacted you. Maybe even share what you think it could do for the organization.
Those above you will be grateful you’re still learning. Those below you will be excited to be on the knowledge journey with you.
2. See something, do something:
We all see issues throughout our day. Only real leaders actually do something about the issues we see.
When you see an issue, take care of it. These may be simple things like the countertop in the bathroom that needs to be wiped down. Or it may be a more challenging problem. You were reviewing a sales funnel and noticed it was not performing how it should. There was a missing step. You see this and spring into action.
Initiative is key when leading from the middle. You no longer need to be told how to do everything. You also have enough knowledge to be dangerous. Yet, those above you will be glad to see you’re taking action. Those below you will see your example and follow suit.
3. Be inclusive:
Too often, leaders in an organization are siloed. They have little interaction with those below them. Even less with those above them.
You can help change this. You can be the bridge maker by making the organization more inclusive.
Find ways to bring upper management together with team members who don’t get the chance to interact with people in positions above them.
This can do a multitude of things. One of the best that I have seen is that team members find a new sense of respect for those leading the organization and the leaders of the organization discover a newfound respect for those they’re over.
Being inclusive helps everyone build relationships that last.