Know the Informal Leader March 5th, 2013

Vinod Kumar

We have discussed about various generic leadership behaviors over this blog. But I thought it is worth mentioning this particular form that we miss out from our day-today lives. There is always some characteristic leadership behavior in each one of us. We need to acknowledge, explore and surface the same at the right time at the right place.

Think about a sports team that you follow. Can you see how certain individuals have greater influence over the group but they are not the designated leaders? Can you name a couple of them? I am sure you can now think of a dozen of them. Now these individuals are called as informal leaders. Just to put it on records – Informal leaders are people who don’t hold any leadership position but actually have an authority or responsibility of managing a group, with the group having utmost respect for the individual.

The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been – Henry Kissinger

Informal Leads in Organizations

Every single organizations do have such bubbly and influencing individuals who can cast a spell and take the lead. How many of us have taken a lead to scribe meeting notes voluntarily? When a project crisis hits, how many of us raise our hand to take the challenge? When things don’t work well within the organization, how many of us stand to say the same on behalf of others? These are for sure some basic characteristics of an informal leader.

Organizations do notice these behaviors and there will always be some natural transition to become an ace leader in the long term.

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you – Max DePree

Gets people together

A formal leadership role has certain apprehensions and certain restrictions. With informal leadership this is not the case. Assume there was a new employee who joins your department. Though HR and Managers do some decent job of introducing. The informal leader always takes initiative in getting acquainted with the new kid. They get to chat with them to tell where the cafeteria is, where the rest rooms are, what are the eating joints near by, offers help to find a new place for them, where are the resources for new hire, what are the dos and don’ts of company, who is the network admin, introduces to pantry boys, where the printer is located etc. The role of informal leaders is to make the new employee comfortable with the team and get started with his job faster. After day one, they make the new hire feels acknowledged, included, heard and respected.

The real leader has no need to lead – he is content to point the way – Henry Miller

Pillar of Support

Though there aren’t official informal leadership roles, such individuals are never thought as barriers to progress or a obstacle to any activity. The never die attitude and a positive intent to help keeps them always the most sought after people in the organizations. It is critical that these individuals compliment and support the actual leader and not cause any actions that will conflict with those who have formal leadership roles. Supporting the formal leader is one of the primary tasks and if done properly, they will get their opportunity to move up the ladder in the future. Find the leader in you today !!!

The best example of leadership is leadership by example – Jerry McClain

This is a small concept on leadership. I am sure you would have seen many of these informal, non-intrusive leaders in your organizations. Do feel free to drop me a line if you will look for becoming an informal leader in the future or not? If you are one of those informal leaders, do tell us about your experience.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 at 08:00 and is filed under Personal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Know the Informal Leader”

  1. Joey says:

    I agree. The “informal leader” seems to have a bigger picture in mind. They are focused on the outcome they are trying to achieve. They know that team success will provide personal success.

    As Zig Ziglar says, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

  2. Hari Hara says:

    While reading I felt something about myself. Best part of this article is

    The real leader has no need to lead – he is content to point the way – Henry Miller

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