The Titleless Leader

May 31st, 2013 | By | Category: Career advice

The Titleless Leader” By Nan S. Russell

I am thankful for the invitation from Career Press to review: The Titleless Leader-How to Get Things Done When You’re Not in Charge – By Nan S. Russell.

One of most challenging situations in the workplace is to have responsibility without authority. No matter what your position, your success greatly depends on your ability to influence others to willingly cooperate and help you. The premise of Nan Russell in her new book The Titleless Leader is: we can develop our thinking, behavior and actions to obtain the help of others voluntarily without the use of authoritative carrot and stick tactics. Or as Nan aptly put it, how to get things done when you are not in charge.

Having risen through the ranks from a minimum wage job to a Vice-President in a multibillion-dollar corporation, Nan has drawn upon her experience to develop her methodology to be a titleless leader. Referencing Gallop Research, which underscores “People follow leaders for very specific reasons. When asked, followers were able to describe exactly what they need from a leader with remarkable clarity: trust, compassion, stability, and hope.” The titleless leader delivers all four needs through uncommon behaviors, and the cornerstones of self-alignment, possibility needs, soul courage, and winning philosophies (P 13).

The book is written in an easy to understand style with plenty of exercises and examples to guide the reader through the leadership development process. Each piece is fitted as a jigsaw puzzle to lock together forming a clear picture of leadership behaviors and qualities. The exercises are designed to aid the reader in determining their starting point in developing the recommended behaviors to become a titleless leader. Once incorporated the four cornerstones of self-alignment, possibility needs, soul courage, and winning philosophies will becomes second nature. There is also a fair amount of coaching to inspire the reader to reach a little further, and to venture into challenging situations to help expand their character and leadership skills.

All of the material was relevant to becoming a good leader. Whether or not an official manager or a titleless leader the behavior and qualities described are essential to be a good leader. There are nuggets of new information, and some very uplifting and inspiring anecdotes that give a morale boost by knowing things can be different. As I read each chapter I felt better about increasing my abilities to deal more effectively with my coworkers and people in general. All of the traits of leadership are equally applicable to almost any situation where other people are involved. Although it takes time to develop a reputation of being trustworthy, compassionate, stable and inspiring hope, when it becomes an ingrained part of your personality it is clearly perceptible to most people we encounter. Even the clerk at the return counter in the department store responds to leadership behaviors and qualities. In this age of doing more with less and when more responsibility with less authority is the norm, developing leadership skills is essential. Nan has captured the essence of what it will take to work effectively in the ever-changing office environment.

It occurred to me while reading each chapter; most of us learn how to maneuver within our organizations. Many develop working relationships and friendships with coworkers and across organizational lines. These are more mutual benefits or survival relationships than a leader follower. Coworkers can count on you for information and help in your department in exchange for the same in return. Many of the same qualities identified in the Titleless Leader are required to build these relationships, and they are more partnerships than leader follower. Perhaps it is the perception that a leader is a step above a follower in most situations, where partners tend to have equal status. When we introduced the team concept in my organization, the term team leader put a target on your back even though there was no difference in pay or status. The perception of a difference in status caused some to be competitive instead of cooperative team members.

In the later chapters Nan draws on her experience in today’s workplace and provides solid advice and tactics for thriving in the face of adverse conditions. First by employing what was presented in previous chapters to develop a winning attitude and how to handle setbacks. Then followed by salient advice on how to align to the ever-changing workplace where initiative, and innovation is trampled by the heard mentality. There is a dire need for independent thinkers and innovators if the economy is going to rebound. Armed with the tools presented in the Titleless Leader you will be prepared to help lead yourself and your organization back to prosperity.

The PracticaL Mentor

Title: The Titleless Leader –

How to Get Things Done When You’re Nor in Charge

Author: Nan S. Russell

Place Published: Pompton Plains, NJ


Pages: 234

Special Features: Self evaluation exercises.

Price: $15.99

ISBN: 13:978-1-60163-208-1

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