Ed O’Malley and Julia Fabris McBride of the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) write in their new book: When everyone leads the toughest challenges, they are seen and solved (Bird Press, 2023). “Even if you don’t have a title, you can still exercise influence.”
O’Malley founded Wichita-based KLC in 2007 and served as the nonprofit’s president and CEO for 15 years. He is a former Kansas State Representative and Assistant to the Governor. Your Leadership Edge: Strategies and Tools for Everyone Leading (Bird Press, 2022). He is currently President and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF), based in Wichita. This foundation he founded KLC to develop civic leadership by teaching him soft skills such as engagement, collaboration and powerful questioning.
Fabris McBride is the Center’s Chief Leadership Development Officer, interim President and CEO, and co-author of: teach leadership (Kansas Leadership Center, 2015). She is a Chicago actor and certified coach who has taught leadership and management at the University of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, the University of Massachusetts, and James P. Shannon Her Leadership Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota.
the premise of when everyone leads Leadership and authority are two distinct attributes that empower everyone to “ask powerful questions, seek out multiple interpretations of situations, and act experimentally to find creative ways to move forward.” It means that the organization benefits when it is To develop your leadership muscle, you may not be able to influence everyone to solve problems, but you should be able to influence some people and at least lead with them. It is necessary to recognize that
According to KLC’s 2021 Leadership Development Survey, “Most leadership development programs typically focus on a select few who are at the top of their organizations or are being developed as executive managers. In today’s turbulent times, traditional leadership development approaches are not enough: forward-thinking organizations need people at all levels who are empowered to lead and catalyze change.”
SHRM Online O’Malley and Fabris McBride on what behaviors hiring managers should seek to find potential leaders, how new graduates and new graduate professionals establish themselves as leaders, “Skillful Interventions” talked about how to grow , its multiple interpretations, and who needs to be involved to address its challenges.
Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
SHRM Online: You write that even people who are not in positions of authority can be influential. please tell me in detail.
Fabrice McBride: No one can consistently demonstrate leadership, regardless of role. We have high expectations of those who are empowered to exercise leadership. Everyone should be well equipped and ready to lead.
o’malley: No need to wait for permission to lead. you can do that We believe leadership is born in the small moments that happen to people throughout the day. Most of us are unaware of that moment. It’s time to show leadership. You don’t have to have a top job to seize the moment. Frontline employees and CEOs can have different moments.
SHRM Online: How can a recruiter spot a candidate’s leadership potential? What qualities or traits should they look for?
Fabrice McBride: It’s not a quality or trait, it’s a behavior.do [the job candidates] Do you ask open-ended questions? Do interviewees have an idea of the company’s mission and business? Do they have weird questions that make the hiring manager stop and think? how well do they hear? Can they be there, listen, and bring in different perspectives on what the role is about? Do you show that you see the challenges of the job, including putting yourself in the shoes of the end user?
o’malley: Recruiters can create questions that ask candidates how they solve big challenges. Someone with a knack for leadership talks about the process of solving problems. For example, if a company is asked how to gain more market share and the answer is to revive the brand and refocus on the market audience, that is not leadership thinking. But if they answered, “First, get the stakeholders together, ask everyone what they think is getting in the way of the product, and collectively identify the main themes that are holding us back, You have to run an experiment.” That’s the leadership approach.
SHRM Online: How can a recent graduate or graduate professional position themselves as a potential leader, for example speaking at a conference?
o’malley: Speaking up in meetings is not necessarily a leadership quality. For young professionals, it’s about the questions you ask. That’s the idea you provide.Many young professionals are very focused on what is expected [them] and how [they can] Do really, really well. It’s the path to success, but it’s not the path to leadership.
Those who demonstrate leadership as young people are asking tough questions. Young professionals can get away with asking tough questions. They understand what is expected of them and ask a lot of big questions and ideally questions without clear answers. Are you open today? ”
SHRM Online: writes about “intervening skillfully”. What does it look like and how does it demonstrate leadership?
Fabrice McBride: means to do something. Whether it’s a question or a provocative statement, [looking for multiple] interpretation [of a situation] To get people… we’re looking at a significant challenge. I don’t know if I intervened skillfully unless someone gave me feedback. Do you have an ally or close friend who is willing to give you candid feedback on your intervention and guide you a bit?
o’malley: The world is full of passionate supporters. We seek to help people understand the difference between passionate advocates and passionate advocates making progress. Don’t pat yourself on the back for standing up and giving a powerful and provocative speech. Did it move the issue forward or push people away from your purpose? Leadership is a result. Just because you’re in favor of inclusion doesn’t mean you’re skillfully intervening for inclusion.
SHRM Online: Some organizations have programs to develop employees who are considered “high potential” for leadership positions. Choose one or two components that should be included in such a program.
o’malley: Most leadership programs are actually management programs, and most of those programs are about finding people for big title roles. If that’s your type of program, make sure the prospective manager understands the difference between leadership and authority. I guess. They are not demonstrating leadership.
If we can create a leadership program for everyone, it will be a game-changing process.our research [Organizational Impact and Leadership Development Capacity, 2021] When everyone leads, the toughest challenges can be solved. It’s about unlocking leadership from people across the organization. Whether you’re in a managerial position or not, being able to create a leadership development experience will yield powerful results.