How to Lead From the Middle

A person’s character and initiative are influential.

Summary
Transcript

In this backstage interview from Leadercast Live 2019, leadership communicator and author Andy Stanley explains why character and initiative are imperative when it comes to leading when you’re not the boss.

“[Those who lead from the middle feel] a little bit of that crunch from the top and that responsibility for the folks that are coming along behind them,” says Andy. “This is where character and initiative are such a big deal because when somebody comes to me and I trust their character and they're willing to take initiative, I listen to them.”

Watch the video to hear Andy explain further about leading from the middle. 

TAKEAWAYS
- Everyone feels some degree of pressure to lead up.
- People at every level need to demonstrate character and initiative.
- Bring solutions, not just problems, to every conversation.

One of the biggest challenges in any large organization is leading when you're not in charge. Everybody feels a little bit of that crunch from the top and that responsibility for the folks that are coming along behind them. This is I think where character and initiative are such a big deal, because when somebody comes to me and I trust their character and they're willing to take initiative, I listen to them. The person that just brings me problems and no solutions, the person that just brings me problems and I'm not even sure about their work ethic, it's very difficult to be influenced by people you don't trust. But when you trust someone, you are automatically open to their influence. And where there is empathy, you're automatically open to people's influence.

So I think for the person who's trying to figure out how do I influence up in the organization, your track record, your character, your willingness to not just bring problems but bring solutions, your willingness to say, "Hey, I'd like to try something different and I've already thought it through. I just need three months. I just need this much money. And at any point, if you need to step in and shut it down, I won't complain."

You know, bring me a plan. Bring me some guardrails. And again, anybody in upper management who's again, wants to get credit for having an extraordinary team, they're going to listen to those ideas. But the person that's constantly bringing problems and no solutions, you just don't want to answer their email. You don't want to return their text. So this has a lot to do, I think with character and initiative.
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Andy Stanley

Leadership communicator, best-selling author and founding pastor of North Point Ministries Andy Stanley inspires tens of thousands of people. Andy founded Atlanta-based North Point Ministries in 1995, leading six churches in the Atlan...

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