Leadership

5 reasons why we need leadership without authority

The Golden Key RMIT chapter (a collegiate honour society that invites the top 15% of college and university sophomores, juniors and seniors, as well as top-performing graduate students) asked me to explore “leading without authority” with their students and a panel of experienced leaders: Dr Wendy Harding, CEO of the National Institute of Organisational Dynamics Australia; Professor Ron Wakefield, Dean, School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT University; and Gary Novak, Partner at KPMG. It’s an important concept if you are new to an organisation or do not have positional authority – that is, authority by virtue of your job title or where you are in the hierarchy.

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Diversity and Inclusion

Reluctant leaders may be your best leaders

Having interviewed 26 quietly powerful leaders and reflected on what they told me, what struck me was that some were reluctant leaders.

They never thought of themselves as leaders initially. Someone – a mentor, a manager, a senior leader – saw something in them, encouraged and gave them opportunities to step into leadership.

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Diversity and Inclusion

Quietly Powerful Leaders – who are they and why…

Since starting the Quietly Powerful movement just over 2 years ago I have had the pleasure of interviewing 24 Quietly Powerful leaders so far, to understand what makes them quietly powerful and how their natural tendencies have been their leadership strengths (join the Quietly Powerful LinkedIn Group to access the recorded interviews). A few patterns started emerging, which I have been sharing more of in my talks.

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Diversity and Inclusion

Quietly Disadvantaged Talent

In conversations with quieter professionals, I hear examples of how they have felt disadvantaged in the workplace. It is surprisingly common place and yet often not seen as a problem. It is more often seen as the problem for the quieter professionals to fix and fit in. While I have the view that the individuals can develop to overcome some of the disadvantages, I also believe that organisations are wasting talent by not being aware of or addressing these disadvantages.

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Diversity and Inclusion

Strong leadership ≠ dominance

Recently I heard two cases where leaders with track records were unsuccessful for roles they applied for, and they were unsuccessful because the hiring manager was looking for a ‘strong leader’.

One of them wrote to me and said:

“I think they were looking for that [a dominating style of leader] because it is their current workplace culture. They fight, they push each other around…”

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