If you hold down any leadership role for any length of time and you will come to one conclusion very quickly:
You have to work hard to make it look easy!
Even though most people are not officially appointed leader, the new work practices that have sprung up over the last 5 to 10 years have actually produced great opportunities for more leadership at all levels.
Old-fashioned hierarchies tended to concentrate decision-making influence at the highest level or rank. Other people may have been asked for input but essentially the real power and influence was always with the “higher-ups”. While some aspects of decision-trees have not changed, these days with the prolific use of electronic devices and potential for 24/7 connectivity, many more people are being asked to make many more decisions about many more issues. Officially you may not be a leader but you certainly do have to communicate and decide on actions far more than if you were around, say, only 20 years ago.
We are now all involved in many more conversations,often electronically. If you added up all the emails you received each day, all the conversations on the phone, or other electronic devices and all communication you have face to face I think you may very well have been engaged with at least 20 people each day: often many more. The modern knowledge-worker has the opportunity to influence on so many fronts that you will probably leading or impacting people far more often than you realize.
You are leading and influencing every time you get involved in reading, flagging, forwarding, saving, attaching, dragging, opening, closing, refreshing, checking, clicking, writing, editing, tracking, formatting, drafting, wriing, texting, deleting, contacting, accepting, declining, tasking, pasting, copying, updating, synchronizing, viewing, reviewing, inserting, sharing, selecting, replacing, hyperlinking, highlighting,linking, sending, receiving and adding value!
This is the environment where the new type of leadership is needed… from everyone.
In the course of an average day, being connected, you will probably be influencing and shaping decisions on many different groups of people. This means that although we need to be the new leader or influencer, it also means that we probably need to rethink what really is your “team”!
I think that when someone says to discuss an issue with “team” or “colleagues” most people picture their colleagues as the handful of people they face-to-face with each day. But in electronic reality, don’t you liaise with, engage with, and get included in hundreds of people and conversations over the course of, say, the month?
Smart teams helps teams to influence and impact conversations and issues right now. Because it’s in the electronic world where people often feel out of control through smart teams people come to a group consensus on how we as a team can shape and achieve things. This helps people to take the lead, and feel in control of issues and workload, leading to greater feelings of satisfaction.