How to lead when you’re not the boss
Intermittently during my sales presentation and speech communication work, I’ll ask a group this question. “Imagine this workshop is a sailing ship. Think about your participation in the workshop to this time. Have you been the ‘Wind’ metaphorically, blowing this workshop/sailing ship forward? Or have you been a ‘Passenger’ just going along for the ride? Or have you been an ‘Anchor’ weighing us down?”
Rarely are there ‘Anchors’ when I ask this question. Equally rarely, are there people who would nominate themselves as the ‘Wind’. Most people are located in the ‘Passenger’ category. Perhaps this is not surprising.
My point in sharing this workshop question is this: We can always use more ‘Wind’ (or more people taking the lead) in any group, workshop, meeting, seminar, encounter, interaction. People who are focused on the greater group benefit versus being passive or being an inhibitor.
Examples of being the ‘Wind/taking the lead include:
- In meetings, helping a struggling chairperson lead the meeting.
- Readily offering an opinion to a question someone poses in a meeting (versus always having to be prompted).
- In a meeting including and encouraging a timid person in a discussion.
- Helping a conference organiser get people back in the meeting room after a break (versus just getting yourself back in the room on time).
The ‘how to apply’ for this post: In the next seven days aim to be the ‘Wind’/take the lead in a meeting and reflect on the impact of doing so.