Teaching Leadership LO7074

Michael Erickson (sysengr@atc.boeing.com)
Tue, 30 Apr 1996 06:57:22 -0700

Replying to LO7046 --

re: Rose Wentz comments about lower level staff personell influencing
upper management....


I also am a "staff" person who interacts at multiple levels in our
organization. I find myself leading through "inspiration". I simply get
excited about ideas and find myself talking to people about them
informally. I have several levels of management above me who I can have
informal conversations with (around the coffee station or whatever) and I
tell them about the latest new thing I learned or problem I'm trying to
work out and we have a conversaton that ends up with my excitement being
transmitted to them.

We often think of leadership in the context of "the one who is steering
the ship". I find leadership to be more like "the one who spots the
iceberg", "finds the safe route", or "discovers the new opportunity".
This means the leader is not often recognized, and some of us get
depressed about that because a lot of us would like to recieve payment for
our services. It's a nice thing for the assigned leadership to accept the
knowledge and experience of the natural leader, but it's not an essential.
I regard the "leadership from behind" that I've had a hand in (usually
it's accidental anyway) as being the experiences I like to remember best.
I've had some tough nuts to deal with-including engineers with lots of
academic credential and hard core management types who think they have the
answer long before the problem is somewhat clearly expressed. I've
successfully helped them change their minds or approaches to things-and I
have to admit, it's a hard job... but it's not a bad job.

I don't know where leadership comes from, unless it comes out of the
passions of the individual. It certainly is not based on rules of any
road I know of. I only know that leaders that have developed under my
hand usually come to this leadership after they get excited about what
they are doing. Whether it be a climbing team on the Ice of Mount Rainier
or a design team thrashing thru a problem, when the excitement comes, the
magic happens.



sysengr@atc.boeing.com (Michael Erickson)

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>