Be honest. What type of person are you? Whenever you notice something wrong, you don’t like or that can be done better, how do you react? Be honest. Not because I want you to do it. But because you should be honest to yourself. Would you be upset about it? Would you complain about it? Would you ignore it? Would you think it’s not your problem? Would you refer to others as you neither have the official power nor the responsibility? It’s simply not your job? Well. Let me tell you a short story.

Today I found a plastic bottle on the beach. It always makes me sad to see all the garbage lying around. It simply shows how people are treating the nature, treating other people and at least themselves. And there are so many people just passing it. Maybe they don’t care, maybe they even don’t think about their behavior and consequences. Perhaps they will moan about it. Or maybe they think they couldn’t do much about all this big stuff like climate change because they are just normal people without any power. But that’s not true. It always starts in your own head. It’s about mindset and imagination. And the plastic bottle is just a reminder for myself and an example for all the problems out there and how people are dealing with it or just not. It’s the same with politics or company culture for example.

Every single piece counts

Don’t get me wrong. No one expects you to save the planet on your own. No one expects you to help your company out of a crisis or fix a bad culture. And it’s not even about that. There is no expectation like that, there is no pressure. So this cannot be an excuse to do nothing. In this case think big but start small. It’s about doing the things you easily can do. It’s a first step. Putting the bottle into the bin for example. It’s so easy and there is nor reason not to do so. You cannot always rely on someone else. You cannot always wait for others to take over. You don’t need to be officially in charge for it. If you see something and you know it is wrong or it could be improved and you have all the skills to fix it, then fix it. At least look for support and help. You are not alone but maybe you are the one who have to start it.

To know and not to do is really not to know.
Stephen R. Covey

Grow your circle of influence

It’s not only about climate change and other big challenges of mankind. It starts wherever you are and whatever you are doing. In your family and job for example. Of course there are a lot of things you cannot change directly. It’s out of your direct control. That’s totally fine. You have to accept that. These things are located in your circle of concern. Other things are closer to you, they are in your circle of influence. You can influence or change them actively. At least you can try to improve the surrounding system and make a change more likely.

Now it is up to you. What are you spending your energy on? What do you occupy yourself with? What do you use your time for? Hopefully for things in your circle of influence. Maybe it gives you satisfaction to deal with the other things located in the circle of concern, but what does it change? This only leads to you putting yourself in a victim role. As a result, your own room for actions becomes smaller and smaller.

So turn the tables. Focus on the things you can influence and change. Above all, take responsibility. This is what leaders do. No matter if you have an official position or if you are in a lateral leadership role. Walk your talk and refrain from doing what you would criticize others for. Stop complaining and start doing. This is much more productive and effective. Furthermore, you will not only gain reputation and trust, but probably also followers and supporters. And this helps you grow your circle of influence.

Leadership is a choice

So how do you decide in future? Will you be a the change? Will you be the lateral leader? What will you do the next time someone is complaining about the top managements strategy and goals? What will you do about the useless and too long meeting without any result? How will you react when somebody talks about others behind their back? What do you do the next time you see a dirty cup next to the dishwasher? These things may be small and trivial, but that is where it starts. It starts with putting the plastic bottle in the bin.

Learn more about Lateral Leadership

Leadership is a choice. Are you ready for yours? We will help you doing the first steps on your way to a lateral leader. Book a training for you and your team.

We also the Lateral Leadership Training in German.