Here is something I believe about leaders:
When a group is assembled, everyone has the ability to lead. It doesn’t have anything to do with what your title or position is.
Let me give you an example. I am a klutz. How machinery works is not a natural thing for me. Machinery is important to our business. I try to pay attention to how it works. I try to pay attention to what capabilities we expect. I listen to what those who work on them say. I can repeat what I have heard.
But, if a nailing machine is not working the way it ought to, my knowledge and ability to fix it are limited.
Let’s imagine that I am out in the plant and something goes wrong with a nailing machine. Because I am there and interested in it working again, I will go over to see what is happening.
So, it’s me and the three teammates who work on the machine all the time. I may have worked for the company the longest. I may earn the most money. I may have the best parking spot. But, should I be leading the discussion to get to the result?
The people who are in the best position to act, should act. Any person who can help define a problem, should be able to help define it. Any person who can help solve it, should be able to offer a solution.
Leadership follows skills, ideas, solutions.
The crime on a lot of teams is that the best skills, best ideas, best solutions stay buried. Buried, because the ones in authority won’t let them happen. Buried, because the ones who have them don’t choose them.
So, it’s leadership when those in authority make sure authority doesn’t get in the way of the best ideas coming forward.
And, it’s leadership when everyone on the team understands that when it’s their time to lead, that they should.
If you can improve it, step up. Lead where you stand.
PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace
Since 2005, he has been sharing his thoughts on the organization, leadership, and communication in an online daily note to teammates called Daily with HQ.