Leading from the middle of the organization is tough. Lots of responsibility, but limited empowerment. Less money, but more work. More to manage, but less training. And on and on and on. Reality is, most influence within organizations always comes from the middle, and not from the top. Those leaders "in the middle" of any organization are crucial to the success of the mission, vision and values being lived out.
So how do you deal with this reality?
1. Understand your context. Truth is, influence doesn't require a title or position. You can wield influence from anywhere in the organization. Especially in today's cultural reality of flatter and more entrepreneurial organizational structures.
2. Be a linchpin. Be remarkable. Be so good at what you do that those around you have no other option than to take notice. Make others talk about you, in a good way of course.
3. Anticipate the needs of your boss or those above you. Understand how to best serve them and remove responsibility from their plate onto yours. If you are creating more work for your boss instead of less work, that's a problem.
4. Celebrate the accomplishments and wins for those below you. Be a cheerleader and mentor to your team and those who work for you.
5. Collaborate with those next to you or besides you. Collaboration with your peers in the organization is key. Serve them well.
6. Be trustworthy. This one is huge. It doesn't mean that you don't screw up or fail, but it means that you are worthy of being trusted. Make good decisions. Be honest. Be Authentic.
7. Lead like you are at the top. Your perspective should be that of an owner. This means you don't use the phrase "they are...." but instead speak in terms of "we are...." Big difference. Remember, influence can happen from anywhere in the organization.
8. Embrace the position you have. Don't be bitter. Lean into it. Be the best in the world at your current role. Be present.