TERRY’S BLOG: LEADING FROM WITHIN

“Leadership is not meant to be
an all-or-nothing proposition.”

— John C Maxwell

I want to complete the quote above. Here it is: “Leadership is not meant to be an

all-or-nothing proposition. If being someplace other than the top has caused you

great frustration, please don’t throw in the towel. Why? Because you can make an

impact from wherever you are in an organization, even if you face additional

obstacles.”

Skipping to the next paragraph in John C Maxwell’s wonderful book, The 360 Degree Leader, he

goes on to say something very important: “I believe that individuals can

become better leaders wherever they are. Improve your leadership, and you can

impact your organization. You can change people’s lives. You can be someone who

adds value. You can learn to influence people at every level of the

organization–even if you never get to the top. By helping others, you can help

yourself.”

I am a huge fan of this book. In every way, in every position that I have ever

been in, I have endeavored to lead–to be a leader in the position that I have,

regardless of how high up the ladder it was. In all of the organizations of

which I was a part, I may have been high up the ladder, but was never in an

ownership position until starting my own business; however, that has never stopped me

from leading to the best of my ability from where I was, and even leading beyond

my position from time to time.

I can tell you unequivocally that this concept is an excellent place to be and I

encourage it within everyone in every organization of which I’ve ever been a part. Every

organization needs a wide variety of leaders. In fact, they cannot function well

without them. The more there are, often the better the organization can

become.

What is also critically important to realize–and this was a tough one for me from

time to time– is that being at the top is not necessarily as good as where you

are now. Often, I thought that I would be better in the top leadership position

within companies that I was a part of, but now looking back, I’m not nearly so

certain. This is partly because I’ve now owned my own company for 14 years, and I

see a lot of companies in action in the position I hold now. Plus, I’m older and

wiser now than I was then.

It is easy to take pot-shots at the top leaders when you’re on the firing line and

you know what needs to get done and it isn’t getting done. The thing to

concentrate on is what Teddy Roosevelt famously said so well: “Do what you can,

with what you have, where you are.” That is such excellent and timeless advice.

Just focus on today, right now, with what you have, what you can do and then do

it. Be the leader. It doesn’t matter so much whether you’re paid to do it that

way or not. Leaders don’t go around asking for money for every movement. They

just move. Go for it. If money comes, great. If money doesn’t come, great. At

least you will have learned to be a better leader. That is something you can

cash in down the road for sure and for certain.

Begin looking at yourself as a leader wherever you are in your company.