What are the key leadership behaviors for non-managers?

Crossing the chasm with a manager and leader

Q: What are the key leadership behaviors for non-managers?


This is an interesting question because the answer is the same for managers as it is for non-managers. The notable difference is that managers have additional responsibilities representing the Company, formally developing people and ensuring commitments are met.

Top three leadership behaviors for non-managers


1: Ignore organizational boundaries and be a collector of people

…being limited by the formal structure ensures missed opportunities…
Leaders influence people regardless of organizational structure. In fact, great leaders actively cross team boundaries to bring the right people together—being limited by the formal structure ensures missed opportunities. It is not just about match making. Great leaders are constantly growing other people.

2: Refine your point of view so that it speaks up, down and sideways

Leadership is not hierarchical!
Message a strong point of view that shows a deep understanding of the organization’s goals, what you know specifically and a future state that feels just out of reach but worthy of everyone’s time. Leaders are able to speak “truth to power.” They influence upwards and sideways, not just downwards. Leadership is not hierarchical.

3: Consistently deliver remarkable outcomes

…too many derailments and people get confused about what is broken…
While it is possible to be a leader and misstep, if you have too many derailments, people get confused about what is broken. Leaders breakdown their vision into valuable, actionable and achievable steps that ensure strong outcomes by design. They repeat this practice and build a reputation for getting things done despite all of the challenges.

For better or worse, leaders model behaviors that become the foundation for other leaders. If the behaviors are desirable, this can quickly develop strong organizations. Unfortunately, bad behaviors create leaders with bad habits wreaking havoc on Company culture and execution.

When we experience dysfunctional leadership, you have to see it as a gift for how not to be. Remember, some leaders are followed because of their authority and not because of their ability. It is important to differentiate the people that are leading you from their position, verses those you follow because of their leadership.

Differentiate the people that are leading you from their position, verses those you follow because of their leadership


Next steps: Actions that change everything


1: Develop a strong point of view

  • Acquire knowledge from inside and outside the workplace
  • Incorporate your unique take on the topic
  • Practice positioning those ideas to different audiences
  • Find like minds; listen and learn from them

2: Remain open to new opportunities

  • Self-assess your current reach
  • Commit to connecting with people across functions, organizations and geographies
  • Mentor people who have something to teach you

3: Develop remarkable outcomes

  • Ensure your projects are being led vs executed
  • Find projects that are fragile or on fire and find a way to support success
  • Make sure you are not over-celebrating successes

Three tools for all leaders

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