Leadership e-Tip 1: Leadership Is An Act, Not A Role

Leadership Is An Act, Not A Role

Dr Miriam Kragness, an industrial and organizational psychologist broke new ground with her research into organizational leadership by redefining leadership as an act, not a role. When you see someone as a leader it is because they are performing an act of leadership.

“An act of leadership is an Out-In-Out process. It occurs when:

Out:    You see something that needs changing, fixing or improving, or just isn’t right.
In:       You process your thoughts, feelings and opinions on how to respond to this situation.
Out:    You respond with action.

Here is an example from a packaging company.

Out:    A young production line worker notices over a period of time that the excess packing material is just going into a waste bin and is thrown out. Nobody else has said anything, and the waste is handled the same way on all machines.

In:       She thinks about the problem of the waste material for some time and comes up with an idea for reusing some of it.

Out:    She takes her idea to her supervisor, then to the quality manager with her supervisors support. The idea is implemented and saves the company $30,000 per year on each machine.

What made this act of leadership successful was that it was supported; in this case by the supervisor. The organization had created a culture in which the people in leadership roles encouraged and supported acts of leadership from all employees.

What would happen in your organization if all employees spoke up when they saw something that would improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, increase productivity or increase their own engagement and commitment?

It will only happen when the people in leadership roles understand the power of everyone being able to perform acts of leadership.”


How would leaders of organizations that encourage “acts of leadership” from all employees answer the following questions

  1. Is your organization succeeding at the level you would like in today’s competitive market?
  2. Are your people able and ready to anticipate and adjust for tomorrow’s business changes?
  3. Are your employees at all levels excited and engaged in the work they do?

Are you able to answer yes to all of the questions?

If not I encourage you to meet with me. I have been fortunate to serve many happy clients, and would enjoy being able to serve you and your organization some day.

Wishing you success in the days ahead.

Pinky McPherson