Five Examples of Leading Outside the Norm


Organizations must find a balance in leadership style where a team is allowed to help shape the course of action. Ron Edmondson believes this is critical to an organization's success.

Organizations today must learn to think outside the once considered normal lines of leadership. Much research has been done and many books have been written on the subject of leadership being as much these days about the informal aspects of leadership as it is the formal aspects. In addition to a set of rules, policies and procedures, for a leader to be successful today, he or she must engage a team to help accomplish the vision of the organization. In an informal leadership environment, the way a leader leads is often more important than the knowledge or management abilities of the leader. That may have always been important, but now it is critical.

Here are five examples of how a successful leader must lead in today’s environment:

Adapting leadership to followers' individual needs and expectations. No more cookie-cutter leadership is allowed. Leaders must be wiling to individualize their leadership based on the current setting, economy and individualism of team members. 

Raising new leaders. Those on the team with the propensity or desire to lead, must be given opportunity to help lead the organization. Not only is this good for the organization by creating future leaders, it is key to keeping the best people on the team. 

Balancing kindness or friendship with authority. John Maxwell’s axiom “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” has never been more true. People follow leaders they can trust. While leaders sometimes must make difficult and unpopular decisions, authoritarian leadership is not well received by today’s workforce.

Giving others ownership in the vision. People want and need to believe they are making a difference with their work. To do that means they must have ownership in the vision. Allowing a team to help shape the agenda helps assure that their heart buys into completing the mission of the organization. 

Creating for the greater good. Great leaders think beyond themselves, their team, the vision, goals and objectives of the organization. Today’s leaders understand they play a part in a more global sense, not just for their own organization. The way an organization treats its employees, the environment and customers is considered important. 

Finding the right balance between a formal style of leadership, where everything is clearly spelled out for people to follow, and an informal style, where a team helps to shape the course of action, is critical to an organization’s success. Leaders today must continually strive to find that balance.

Which of these is most important to you if you are serving on a team? What else would you add to this list?

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