Have you ever complained to a co-worker that if you were in charge you’d do things differently? That given the authority you’d fix a given problem or improve performance in a certain situation? Would you argue with me if I told you that you do have authority in any situation to make a difference? Through the appropriate display of leadership even the smallest contribution matters. Let me give a couple of simple examples.
I was getting my haircut recently and as my barber worked away one of the other hairdressers kind of went on a rant. The other hair dresser complained that the flow of traffic that day had been so steady that noone got a break and they all worked through lunch. He went on to say that the manager never could get the schedule right expressing his frustation pretty loudly. Rather than piling on the barber cutting my hair matter-of-factly said, “The other day we were all complaining that we didn’t have any business. You should be grateful and pay attention to the customer in your chair.” The atmosphere immediately changed based on my barber’s words. It didn’t come across as being too judgmental and while the other hair dresser might have been slightly agitated, my barber through his leadership put the focus back on customers and quelled what was probably the start of a large bitch session.
Have you ever been in a meeting that was poorly run? The person leading the meeting might half-heartedly lead the group through a discussion or suggest that “Maybe we should start this meeting by discussing this topic. What do you all think?” Compare that with the person leading the meeting that takes the opportunity to provide leadership by saying, “Let’s start here. This is the agenda.”
Small opportunities to provide leadership can make a big difference.