Many find themselves in places where they are not the ones in charge of decision-making and other leadership responsibilities. I want to give you a couple of simple reminders. You are a leader! You must lead yourself. You are and can make a difference. However, you may not be able to determine the direction of an entire organization. You still have influence. You must always be involved in making a difference. You can and do make a difference for your family, friends, and even those where you work, at church, and a host of other places as well. How do you lead when you are not the one in charge? Allow me to make a few observations:
- Lead yourself well. Leadership starts with you. Before you can lead others, you must take the initiative and make the need changes in your life.
- Be courageous. It takes courage to speak up, and at times it takes courage to stay quiet. Wisdom is to be able to distinguish when it is time to act and to move ahead with the proper action. You may not be in charge, but you have something to offer and take heart and speak up and let your feelings be known.
- Hold steady. Many of you are needed right where you are serving presently. One great leadership lesson is persevering during difficult times. Stable leaders are in much demand today.
- Be positive. It is easy to become cynical. Do what you can to improve and excel, and do not go down the path of negativity. Negativity, at times, seems to infect places creating a hostile atmosphere. Negativity may be the way it is where you are today, but do not contribute to this, remain positive, and remember you can make a difference.
- Don’t be critical, but think critically. It is easy to criticize and find fault; it is the way many folks operate. Critical thinking is another thing entirely. There are valuable lessons to be learned, and studying problems and decisions are the right way for you to hone critical-thinking skills. Every position and every situation can be turned into a learning lab when the student is willing to learn.
- Collaborate. The fact that you are not in charge does not diminish the fact that there are things that you and others can get together and work on. The person in charge usually is thrilled that there are people in the organization who are willing to help move the enterprise forward.
- Excel at your job. Throughout the years there will be many things of which we have no control. That is a fact of life. There are many things out of our control. Yet, there are many factors that we are unable to change. One thing you do have control over is yourself. Getting better is something everyone should be focussed on, and it makes little difference what you do or who your boss is, what matters is doing your job to the best of your ability.
- Work hard. One of the best things anyone can model is the value of hard work. You were hired to do something, work at it with all your might. This is a way to demonstrate your character
At times it is difficult to see things that need to be changed and to feel immense frustration at the lack of direction or that the organization is being led the wrong direction, and yet you are powerless to rectify the situation. You may not be able to do all that you would like, but do understand you have influence and you can make a difference. Will you succeed? Not always! Do not give up, continually seek to lead even when you are not in charge.