October 25, 2013

Leadership Has Nothing to Do with Job Titles

The other day a coworker posted a link to a really great article, "Why Your Innovation Leadership Training Will Fail."  The author, Henry Doss, explains how the systems and culture of a workplace affect innovation, for good or ill, far more than its leaders do.

I was discussing this article with my husband, and we discussed the concept of "innovation leadership training." He pointed out that this is the kind of training usually given to managers in an organization. "But managers aren't leaders," he said.

That was something that hadn't occurred to me, but he's right. Think about who the leaders are in your workplace. Some of them might be managers, but some of them might be people with no official leadership title. The people who get things moving, who inspire others - they can be anyone, at any level.

And, conversely, there may be managers who are not leaders. For certain organizations, this is fine: managing is a different skill set than leading, and sometimes you just need someone who can handle logistics and politics in that role. But sometimes, if a group that needs a leader lacks one, that can cause problems.

Look around you today and forget about job titles for a minute. Who are the leaders around you? What is being done to nurture their talent for leadership?

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