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Nan Russell

Oct 8, 2012

A Titleless Leader Would Have Handled It Differently

Last week, I conducted a workshop in Alaska on being a titleless leader. We'd planned a couple days of sightseeing before the event, so my husband and I found ourselves waiting in a long rental car line, after a five hour flight. It was early evening on a Friday, and we were anxious to get settled at the hotel and find a relaxing place for dinner. Unfortunately that wasn't to be anytime soon.

The single representative was struggling to resolve an issue for the woman at the front of the line. We were a few customers back, with more pouring in behind us as people made their way from the baggage claim area. Finally, the frustrated rep called for help, mentioning that she was new here.

Her boss arrived and fixed the problem she had been struggling with for 10 minutes. Barely glancing at the lengthy line, he walked back into his office, leaving an inexperienced young woman to handle everyone.

I'm amazed that someone who leads a customer focused operation would walk away from so many customers.

If he'd been a titleless leader, operating with an ego-detached attitude of contribution and service, the impressions he left would have been positive, not negative ones. A titleless leader would have:

  1. Anticipated the line might expand after a flight and been there to assist

  2. Failing that, would have immediately started assisting customers as soon as recognizing a problem

  3. Allowed his actions to speak the company's values of commitment to customers and responsibility

Titleless leaders don't wait for "others duties as assigned." They're not hung up with "it's not my job" mentality. Instead they operate with a mindset of "other duties as needed." They look for how they can contribute; how they can help and be of service. Those who get results with or without being in charge don't let their egos dictate their actions - they let the situation.

 (More tips in my book, The Titleless Leader: How to Get Things Done When You're Not in Charge.)

Nan S. Russell - Gellatio.png
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