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Becoming An Informal Leader Among Your Peers

Updated: Oct 22, 2018

Becoming An Informal Leader Among Your Peers:

Norm Noble, Principal, Vivid Isle Hospitality Consulting

As a Leader and Resort General Manager, one question I was frequently asked by my front-line leaders which forced me to pause before responding, due to the gravity of the question and knowing my response could have lasting effect on an individual’s career.

The question is, “How can I differentiate myself from my peers?” The front-line or entry-level leader role is an impressionable, anxious, ambitious, and competitive position. They are all seeking to be promoted and seeking guidance from their senior leaders on what we look for when making that decision.

My first thought has always been admiration of that individual, for possessing a burning desire to grow beyond his or her current job and having the courage to ask the tough question, not knowing what the feedback might be. Summarized below are 7 topics I have found effective when responding to leaders.

1. Humility.

Thank the leader for the confidence shown in your leadership, thinking you would be a great resource for their growth and development. Understand they are looking to you for honesty.

2. Skills, Values, & Alignment.

Get to know their leadership attributes, style, values, and desires. Clearly understanding the leadership skill sets they have acquired and what leader skills they hope to develop. It is important to discuss the company values and link how their leader values aligns with the company’s values.

3. Understand Your Role.

Gauge their knowledge and understanding of their company’s and/or department’s

goals and objectives. Understand their perspective on the role they play in accomplishing these goals and on their team. This is a ripe opportunity to advise and guide leaders to think deeper and broader than themselves. I always take a moment and share a lesson from my leadership journey, passing on my personal lessons, my proudest moments, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls, I made along the way.

4. I/E (Intellect Over Emotions).

This be a sensitive topic, however it is important to open dialog on emotional intelligence, advising leaders on their ability to control and discipline themselves, lead by example, and always keeping their intellect over their emotions.

5. Visible and Engaged.

Express the importance of being a highly visible and engaged leader. Inquire on the level of their engagement in their operation and their teams. Do they sit on the sidelines and wait for directions or are they enthusiastically in the trenches with their teams? Are they actively volunteering for projects out of your comfort zone or are they content in managing the normal aspects of operation? Stand out leaders get involved and choose to serve the overall goals, remaining humble and loyal to the team even when in the spotlight, instead of finding happiness in knowing that you’ve have played a pivotal role regardless of whether or not you are acknowledged for it.

6. Authenticity.

Showcase your character, your authentic self, and your sincere ability to care for others. Great leaders listen, show compassion, respect, and courage with their leaders, peers, and teams. People are drawn to authentic leaders because they value realness, honesty, and respect.

7. Curiosity.

Find the lion within, have the courage to respectfully share your perspective and your point of view regardless of how uncertain you may feel or how unpopular it might be. New leaders must be inquisitive, constantly asking questions and sharing their thoughts, because that how they will learn perspectives, skills and behaviors to shape their path.

The best part of my day, is my time walking, observing, listening, coaching, and most importantly role modeling these leadership qualities in my operations. I would intently watch for standout leaders. Those who differentiate themselves by leading authentically, intentionally, and courageously. Those who are fully engaging and enjoying being in the service of others and advancing company goals.


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