When you lead a team, you are presumably the one that everyone knows as the leader that is in that position to lead. Whether it’s by an organization chart, or a discussion among the team, you are the person “at the top” so to say.
But when you are Leading Up, you are not, you are somewhere in the middle with a team that has rallied around your skills and recognizes your abilities and “know-how” to deliver on the project you are working on.
Take a step further, you are now in the position of leading from that middle to those that are “at the top” – for whatever reason – you are now having to push that leadership out from the middle instead of down from the top.
This can be a challenge because now you need to lead not only the team, but those the team reports to in order to educate them on how to lead as well. Essentially you’re leading the leaders from all angles while still driving the project.
It’s a role that requires patience, empathy, coaching, mentoring, inspiration and motivation when you have no tangible benefits that you can provide, simply leadership.
It’s a role that many will shy away from because of it’s complexity and difficulty.
It’s a role that will push you to the edge and teach you more about your style and approach than any other leadership role would ever do.