Acts of Leadership

The great sociologist Max Weber said, over 100 years ago, that the organizations that will survive and thrive will be those that foster acts of leadership throughout the system, rather than assuming leaders only exist at the top.

Many of these HQ Notes talk about leadership. I worry that when leadership is the theme that some of you tune out, because you don’t consider yourself to be a leader.

This thought by Weber highlights how important it is that everyone think of themselves as a leader. You are not always in a leadership role. But, there are times when you are called on to lead.

I am the CEO but I am a mechanical klutz. I don’t have a good instinct or intuition about machinery. When it comes to fixing a machine or choosing the right machine, I may be the least qualified person to make a decision or lead. So, when those kinds of decisions are upon us, I look to others who know better and can do better to determine the path.

Machinery is not the only topic I am least qualified to handle.

So, we can all be leading. It’s up to us to pick out the situations and take the initiative to lead.

Imagine that our pallet nailing equipment is performing poorly or teammates are sloppy with spilling the nails on the ground. At the end of the day, we just sweep them up and throw them away. Wouldn’t it be an act of leadership to express concern about the waste to a supervisor? Wouldn’t it be an act of leadership to educate a new employee on proper nail handling techniques? Sure it would!

Imagine that you work on a saw crew and something is out of alignment. It causes the saw blades to fail at a higher rate. We are down more. Wouldn’t it be an act of leadership to let the maintenance team know of the heightened difficulties? You bet it would!

Imagine that you are driving around on your forklift and you see a new guy working without a guard on a saw. Wouldn’t it be an act of leadership to stop him and show him the right way? Absolutely!

Acts of leadership will create our success. When’s the last time you took the initiative to lead?