In any organization there are a few of the most authoritative employees. Their influence does not depend on their position or official authority. Often they act unconsciously. However, they are united by certain habits that can be adopted.
1. To inspire trust
This is not a tactic, but rather a way of life. It is not a high position that helps you to earn authority, but the trust of those around you. Studying informal leaders, you can notice that they are the first to show trust. Then they strengthen or change their attitude to the person depending on how he behaved. In other words, they practice “quick trust”.
Let’s imagine a project manager. In his group there is a member known only by his reputation. A born leader will not wait until he has earned trust. A new relationship begins with trust, and the result will not be long in coming. People respond surprisingly well to the feeling of being trusted, and will move mountains to repay this simple but effective gesture.
A born leader sows trust all around. Even if someone breaks it, it will be more of an exception. Ultimately, the practice of quick trust helps develop strong relationships. It is the key to success for anyone who wants to lead.
2. To manage reciprocity
This is the simplest tactic that helps you surround yourself with supporters. Research confirms that if you do someone a favor, they are likely to return the favor.
Informal leaders know how to create situations in which others are indebted to them. And, as a rule, it is not manipulation, but a sincere desire to help. Relying on their environment, they offer peers support, access to information and resources. They create a debt of reciprocity simply by helping.
When the time comes to repay that debt, people are eager to return the favor.
3. To erasing boundaries
The born leaders know how to develop strong connections across formal organizational boundaries. They are good at cross-industry relationships and collaboration. And conventions such as corporate hierarchy do not prevent them from seeking solutions to problems. At the same time they learn new things, get to know the approaches and difficulties of other people.
In essence, born leaders strengthen their network of contacts. They gain insight into realities, resources, and challenges in other areas, as well as access to valuable information and individuals with specialized skills. As a result, they see the bigger picture than most, can identify opportunities, and use the right resources to solve particularly difficult problems.
This last point is the basis of the following habit.
4. To build alliances
The habits already mentioned give authority figures the ability to use the necessary resources to solve problems or complete important projects.
Because of their innate abilities, informal leaders build stronger alliances than some appointed leader. They know who to go to and how to engage the right people at the right time to get good results. And they don’t need high-profile positions or orders from above to do it. This is the type of leadership that is relevant right now.
5. To seeing problems
A unique quality of born leaders is the ability to see opportunities or problems that are often ignored. These can be called gray area problems.
They exist in virtually every organization and are usually outside the responsibility of the individual or group. Gray area leaders are adept at identifying them and have the resources to solve them.
These habits will be useful to anyone, regardless of position or organization. Leadership is not the power a position gives. Rather, it is a professional quality, the ability to create value through respect, trust, support, and the ability to make the right decisions through and with others.