Leadership within an organization is available to everyone at all levels. Even though many organizations may believe their leaders are required to reside at the top of their organizational hierarchy to be effective that is not necessarily the case; regardless of what position someone fills in an organization, everyone can lead from where they are located in their hierarchy. Management must learn that a true way of measuring leadership is through the influence a person has and come to the understanding that leadership is an earned trust, not a paid position.
First, regardless of what position someone holds in an organization, everyone can lead from where they position. In my current position, I have no subordinates. Although the people I work with on a daily basis are for all intensive purposes my equal, I still have the ability to lead them. A leader is measured by the influence they have with others in the organization. To be a successful leader, a person must learn that the position doesn't make the leader. On the contrary, the leader makes the position. John C. Maxwell, a well-known author and lecturer on the subject of leadership says that a leader should lead down, across and up. (Maxwell, 1993) It doesn't matter that I have no subordinates to influence; the relationships I have built with my colleagues have opened doors for me to lead within my team.
Leading across to my team members is leading across according to Mr. Maxwell. To accomplish this form of leading, a person must build trust by listening, finding common ground and being truthful. Being a friend is an important part of leading across. One way I keep my trust and friendship with my colleagues is by avoiding the trap of office politics. When team members make me aware of issues going on in the office, I try to see all sides of the issue, and avoid jumping to conclusions. Mr. Maxwell says to say what you mean, and always mean exactly what you say. (Maxwell, 1993)