Workplace navigation is everyone’s responsibility. If you are identifying as a leader, or have the goal of being a better leader, it is even more important.
Many people quickly view the challenge of leadership as getting people to follow. Certainly, that is one idea. Yet, it is not the most important idea.
The most important idea may be the consideration of how you will navigate the environment, the culture, and set the example for everyone else. Then the following part develops more naturally. It isn’t forced.
Leadership is not as much about a position as it is about your behavior. Your position gives you a certain amount of authority. However, it is your behavior, even when no one appears to be watching, that gives you respect.
All eyes are on you when you are in a formal leadership role. Your boss, your peers, and even your direct reports. That isn’t everyone though, there may still be other employees, customers, and vendors who observe your behavior and style.
In today’s world and social climate, your authority often matters less. In addition to the observed behaviors it is about the relationships that you build.
The, “do it or die,” philosophy died long ago. Sure, there may still be pockets of that style of leadership. There may even be scenarios where that style is working. Yet, in the mainstream best practices approach, it is non-existent.
Careful navigation is required. If you are in what may be labeled, middle management, you have important work.
You have to be able to bridge the gap between the front line and the C-Suite. Likely you won’t agree with everything. Likely you’ll face challenges, problems, and push back from both sides.
Winning is not about defeating the opponent, winning is about your careful and appropriate navigation. Being a bit diplomatic is a responsible and respectful approach.
Being a great leader is being a great navigator.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.