"The team don't like or respect him", he said. "But I can make a difference to how the team operates, even if I'm not the leader."
It was an inspiring conversation with a young man who understood leadership. He was working in a team where the official leader was dictatorial and inconsistent. The team spent a lot of time over the 'water cooler' complaining about their boss and the direction he was taking them.
"That just adds to the dissatisfaction and tension. When people push back they make themselves a target."
When I asked what he did differently, here's what he shared:
I don't buy into gossip. It doesn't help anyone. If something is factual, i share what I know, otherwise I stay out of it.
I don't talk behind people's back, and when I hear others doing that, I pull them up. If I have feedback to give, I'll do that straight up with the person it concerns.
I do the best job I know how, even when I don't like how the instructions are given.
If I'm told to do something unreasonable, I respectfully say why I think it is unreasonable.
I maintain my own standard of work and encourage others to do the same - It's easy to let it slip when you don't like the boss, but that reflects as much on me as on him.
It's a great example of leading from wherever you are. This young man is making a contribution to his team and his workplace that adds value and quality. What he is doing makes his team more unshakeable.
How do you lead from where you are?