Workplace blogs
Workplace blogs

Switching on the Leadership Switches

When I ask audience members how many leaders are in the room, typically about 20% of the hands go up. I’ll then explain that it was, of course, a trick question. Every hand in the room should go up because everyone is potentially a leader.

One of Southwest Airline’s leadership slogans reminds their leaders that they are “Leaders leading leaders.” Great organizations understand that true leadership has nothing to do with position or power, and everything to do with character and the ability to influence the people around them. There are leaders at every level and in every type of job. 

Remarkable organizations nurture leadership traits in all their people through coaching, mentoring and training opportunities. They do it by encouraging employees to take on greater responsibilities, by having them chair meetings, or Michael Kerr Bridgedeliver presentations. They do it by sharing information in an honest and transparent way. They do it by trusting them to behave as adults. They do it by listening to their ideas and allowing them to have real input into the organization. They do it by setting them up for success. They do it by recognizing their great work. And they do it by getting out of the way and letting employees do what they know best how to do!  As Ralph Nader once said, “The function of leadership is to create more leaders, not more followers.”

If you’re a manager or supervisor, what are you doing to encourage future leaders? If you’re a front line employee, what are you doing to demonstrate your leadership abilities to the people around you?  Are you stepping up before being asked to? Are you positively influencing the people around you through your character?

Speaking of leadership, I have an article featured in this issue of Switched on Leadership magazine called “25 Ways to Keep Creativity Flowing Through Your Workplace.” If you have an Ipad, Iphone, or Ipod you can access the article and score a free 3-month subscription by going to: Switched on Leadership. (If you don’t have an Apple product and still want the the 25 ways checklist, you can find it here: 25 Ways to Keep Creativity Flowing at Work.)

Michael Kerr, November, 2014. Michael Kerr is an international business speaker who travels the world researching, writing and speaking about inspiring workplace culture and how leaders and organizations put humor to work for less stress and more success.  Sign up for his e-zine at

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