Byron's Babbles

Too Tall Leadership


Leadership, an act or series of acts that moves people in a certain direction can no longer be displayed by a lone giant or heroic individual. As you know I believe that leadership can come from anyone who displays leadership as an occasional, discrete act of influence, anywhere and at anytime necessary. Yes, a leader must provide direction, but the person at the so-called ‘top’ isn’t the only person who can provide it. More importantly, this is not the only person that should be providing it.

DSC_0058-SMany times, and wrongly I might add, we consider that the ideal leader has vision, charisma, integrity, emotional intelligence, an inspiring delivery and sterling character. But if there are leaders who don’t fit this image, then we cannot use our ideal to define leadership in general. Too many times we make leaders out to be giants. Providing direction is still a core role of leadership. However, leaders can provide only a portion of it. Leadership can also be provided by all employees, where its meaning shifts from deciding new directions to influencing others to accept a new direction.img_2083

In this week’s entry, Lesson #8, titled “Two Friends and a Giant” in 52 Leadership Lessons: Timeless Stories For The Modern Leader by John Parker Stewart the topic was the large Sequoia Redwood trees. The story was about the Chickaree and the Wood Boring Beetle. Both use the Sequoia cones as food sources and this allows new trees to grow. In other words the big giants need others to step up and be part of carrying on the species. It takes the team to make this all work.

“As soon as you are too tall to let a small one help you, you are doomed to extinction.” ~ John Parker Stewart

Leadership does not have to happen from giants at the top. Leadership shown by outsiders or bottom-up does not entail occupying a particular role, being a certain type of person, or using positional authority to make decisions. It means creating an environment where everyone is a leader. When, what I call a ‘street level’ innovator, promotes a new product to management, leadership is shown bottom-up. I believe that information should flow up as opposed to the other way around. Decisions need to be made as close to ‘street level’ as possible. We need to find direction regardless of its origin. Everyone is a leader, so anyone with a better idea can influence change.


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