In a high performance culture, everybody is a leader

Many leaders are surprised by our comment that “everybody is a leader” and this mindset shift might be the hardest to make. 

In a previous post, we discussed the three elements we use to assess a high-performance individual: role performance, living the values of the organization, and demonstrating leadership. But why should we look at “demonstrating leadership” for someone in a highly technical, non-leadership role? 

Leadership doesn’t start when you become team lead. 

While we often think of managers or executives as the leaders, true leadership capability can be demonstrated by individual contributors. If you need evidence, consider the amazing displays of leadership we see from young leaders in our high schools or universities. Leadership is not something we learn only after we are promoted to team leader. It is something we need to cultivate for everybody in our organization, as evidenced by the fact that your organization probably seeks people for entry level positions who are ‘proactive, self-starters’. 

A senior executive role in a large organization provides an opportunity for a great leader to achieve more goals and impact the human experience of work for thousands of people. Although an entry level employee is typically seen as having nothing to do with leadership, there are everyday opportunities where leadership can be demonstrated. These traits should be cultivated – and demonstrated – well before somebody attains a people manager role. 

High-performance culture is created by everybody, not the senior leaders.

Leadership should be cultivated at all levels so that we promote people who already have it, instead of promoting successful individual contributors that then embark on a journey of figuring leadership out. Ensuring every employee is trained on how to give and receive feedback and recognition to their peers, treat everyone with respect, and hold each other accountable to common goals, will not only set up your team with successful teamwork and collaboration methods. It will contribute to a culture of high-performing individuals that are equipped with leadership skills and prepare current talent for formal leadership roles in the future. We cultivate high-performance culture much faster when we show everybody how to ‘get an A’ in leadership. 

Collect more data to truly help people grow.

While this post focused on demonstrating leadership, assessing all three elements of high-performing individuals is the most effective way to truly help people grow. Our comprehensive approach to performance conversations considers all three elements of high-performance leadership: performing in role, living organizational values and demonstrating leadership skills. If you want to cultivate a culture of high-performance leaders at your organization, this is where to start. 

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith

Jeff is the Founder & CEO of SupportingLines. He is also a certified Master Corporate Executive Coach, seasoned C-suite business leader and yoga instructor.

Leave a Reply