Leadership is action, not position.
Good leaders believe that one of their most important roles is to create more leaders, not more followers. Good leaders surround themselves with good people, who in turn are given the opportunity to become good leaders. The result is an organization where virtually everyone thinks and acts like a leader in every position.
In an “Everyone Leads” type of culture, there is no such thing as an unimportant person, job, task or idea. When people roll out of bed each morning, they go to work knowing that, regardless of their title, they are not only needed, but appreciated. In these highly competitive times, we either rise or fall together.
“Everyone leads” means that every person, from the bottom to the top, is empowered to do what’s right for the customer, and encouraged to think and act like an owner. Here, leadership is action not position. The organization’s Mission is everyone’s Mission, and any obstacles are considered everyone’s obstacles. “It’s not my job” is one phrase that is seldom heard. Everyone must ensure that his or her team is charged up, in touch with the big picture, and willing and able to take the helm at a moment’s notice.
In an organization like this, no one is to blame, but everyone is accountable. No one points fingers, but everyone lends a hand. No one takes credit, but everyone freely gives it away.
If all this sounds like a smart way to run an organization, it is. As Robert Townsend once wrote, “If people are coming to work excited. . .if they know they’re making a difference in the world…if they’re making mistakes freely and fearlessly…if they’re having fun…if they’re concentrating on getting things done, rather than preparing reports—then somewhere (perhaps everywhere) you have leaders.”