A bird does not sing because it has an answer.  It sings because it has a song.

02 February 2009

Leading from the Middle

If you were following the news a couple of weeks back, no doubt you heard a lot about the amazing Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger, who performed a nearly flawless emergency ditching of the crippled U.S. Airways flight 1549 into the Hudson River.

You may not, however, have heard much about Sheila Dail, Doreen Welsh, and Donna Dent.  These three remarkable women, the flight attendants on that A320, saw to it that all 155 passengers got out of the aircraft quickly and safely.  While much credit must, and should, be given to the highly skilled pilot, he was not the only critical leader who deserves kudos and deep gratitude for a job well done.

Very few work tasks are accomplished by a single "hero."  It takes a team of talented and trained experts to handle each challenge that arises in a dynamic work environment.  For most of us, an office "crisis" is rather less dramatic than this particular example, but the principles still apply.  You will have your greatest successes when you understand your resources, your opportunities, and your constraints, and when you know how to lead from where you are.  Leadership is not a job title; it is a choice.  It is a way of living and working that stays focused on achieving the best possible results, no matter what the circumstances.

Are you a leader in your organization?  Are there people leading in your organization, like those U.S. Airways flight attendants, who deserve greater recognition for the leadership roles they assume?  How can you influence your company culture to encourage and reward effective leadership at all levels?  What can you do about it today?

No comments: