Mastering Inner Leadership

Mastering Inner Leadership

Mastering Inner Leadership

Mastering Inner Leadership

Synopsis

Leadership in today's corporations is exercised not merely, or even primarily, by those at the very top of the organizational charts, but also by the many employees who find themselves in the middle of the corporation. These managers, directors, and vice presidents practice inner leadership in both senses of the term. They lead from within the organization, rather than from the top. They lead from within themselves, seeking to guide others by the light of their own core values and goals, which may be distinct from, if complementary to, the organization's goals. How they do so, and how they can be more effective inner leaders, is the focus of this book for current and aspiring leaders as well as their academic colleagues.

Fairholm explains that there are four key characteristics that distinguish inner leaders from CEOs. First, inner leaders inhabit a unique corporate culture in which they relate not only to subordinates, but to peers and supervisors as well. Second, inner leaders' authority is often more a function of their personalities and personal charisma than it is of their official positions. Third, inner leaders have the ability to create a subculture within the corporation that facilitates attainment of their personal and professional goals and is consistent with their personal values. Fourth, inner leaders use different technologies (techniques, methods, and approaches) in the pursuit of their objectives. Current and aspiring leaders as well as their academic colleagues will benefit from this work.

Excerpt

Leadership is most often studied from the perspective of the top officer in a given organization. It is observed and discussed from the framework and position of a CEO, or government equivalent. The tools of leadership are shown from the position of legal, or authoritative, power. Little discussion is made of leadership from within the ranks, leadership without authority. Too often, leadership development and training is designed for the CEO. However, as important as the CEO is, we are all aware of the fact that any organization must have a corps of proficient middle managers who are able to lead from within the ranks. These “in the middle” managers are essential to the success of the organization. They are the implementers, the organizers, and the influencers on the day-to-day operations. They are, in short, the way that organizations get their work accomplished.

It is unfortunate, then, that middle managers are so often overlooked in leadership training, if they are targeted for training at all. It is even more unfortunate that when middle managers do attend training they become like square pegs being pushed into a round hole. The tools that work for the CEO will most likely not work for the middle manager. The power bases are different. Middle managers are potentially the internal strength of an organization, but they need training that is geared toward their situation. They need to learn how to lead from within, which requires an internal, personal shift in style from managing to leading. This is true whether the organization is public or private.

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