I feel like that it is in my nature to lead. Working alone, with a partner, or in a group, I instinctively have the ability to move the project to completion or at least along the right path. A stream of questions starts flowing through my mind and then most of the time through my lips…
Why are we doing this? What problems are we facing now and if we continue to this way what problems are we going to face in the future? Should I even be doing this? Does it make sense that we are working separately on the same project? What can we be doing different to make this easier? How can we change this process to exceed expectations? How can this be done…better?
Please understand that the majority of this thinking process happens quietly inside my head, I approach others with great care and ease so that I don’t come across as bossy or pushy. Working with others, especially others who have done the same thing the same way for years is a delicate balancing act.
However, even with the most care and the greatest intention I have been accused of “Acting like a Boss” or have had other people say “He thinks he is a boss.” Usually this comes in a “factory thinking” environment where everything as always been done the same way for years, where items are done in a check list order, and where no knowledge thinking is involved. In these circumstances I am expected to follow the same set of unwritten rules. As I start to change the thinking and workflow those select few with a competitive, jealous, or even malicious spirit begin to make acusations like “He is acting like a boss.”
Is that bad? Should I just go with the flow and do a project one way even if I know it can be done twice as fast with better accuracy another way? Is taking initiative bad?
In an article on Forbes.com contributed by John Kotter, Chief Innovation Officer of Kotter International, Kotter offered a leadership tip:
“At its heart, leadership is about taking initiative and influencing those around you — and that doesn’t just apply to people at the top of an organizational hierarchy. Everyone in an organization can demonstrate leadership, and they should.”
In an interview with his colleague at Kotter International Pat Cromier says,
“And one of the things that we do when we work with organizations is we get people involved to the point where they see leadership isn’t about position; it’s about how you behave and how you act, and influencing the people around you, including your superior, and including your boss. And part of that is not going to them with the problem and looking up for a solution, but more importantly, going to them with a possible solution and how you might go about addressing that issue or that barrier.”
Perhaps you have been in a position where you said “why are we doing this this way?” or “If they would just realize it would be much easier this way?” Maybe you have the same instinct to approach projects with the same creativeness and perspectives as I do.
Don’t be afraid to share your ideas. Just be sure to be well mannered and appropreiate when you do. Be positive, take the current situation and build on it. Never say that you can do it “better” or that someone is “wrong.” Don’t hide your ideas because you think you might step on toes or offend someone. If done correctly, its likely they will appreciate the input. There will be resistance and sometimes even complete rejection, but keep trying. Sometimes explaining WHY and not just HOW makes all the DIFFERENCE.
Question: Have you ever been accused of ‘acting like a boss’ and percieved as a negative thing? You can leave a comment by clicking here.