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You don't need to be a boss to be a leader

We don’t always think of our jobs as leadership roles, but we can use leadership to be better in the jobs we do right now.

Author Drew Dudley believes we can all be better leaders, no matter what our job title

According to a leadership expert, praising others hard work and leadership qualities will help you to become a better leader. (Dean Drobot/Shutterstock)

When you think about the leader in your workplace, your boss or manager probably comes to mind. That's because we don't always think of our jobs as leadership roles.  

Drew Dudley is trying to change that mentality. He's the founder and chief catalyst at Day One Leadership and says leading doesn't necessarily mean aiming to become president of a company. Instead, we can use leadership to be better in the jobs we do right now.

"I'm not saying that everyone can be a CEO or everyone can be a manager. Not everybody is interested in that or has the skill set for it," says Dudley, author of the upcoming book This Is Day One: A Practical Guide to Leadership That Matters. "What I'm saying is there's a kind of leadership that everyone can and should inspire."

Dudley has spent the last 15 years helping individuals and organizations increase their leadership capacity. He believes we can all be better leaders, no matter what our job title.

Drew Dudley is the founder and chief catalyst at Day One Leadership and has spent the last 15 years helping individuals and organizations increase their leadership capacity. (Drew Dudley/Twitter)

"Go out and think about who in your organization inspires you by how they work. Who does their job? Who treats their co-workers well? Who is that person in the coffee shop that makes you smile? Tell those people that they are leaders," said Dudley.

By praising others hard work and leadership qualities, he believes you help yourself become a better leader too.

We can all learn to be better leaders

According to Angela Payne, the senior vice-president and general manager of Monster Canada, listening is the key to success.

"You have a better chance of being a better leader by speaking less and listening more," she said.

Angela Payne is the senior vice-president and general manager of Monster Canada, a popular employment website. (Angela Payne/Twitter)

As a leader at a large e-commerce company, she knows what it takes to be successful. She says no matter what your job title, we can all learn to be better leaders.

"A person who can take large complex problems and distill them down and just simplify the issues, really helps anybody elevate their leadership game," said Payne. "Because it requires that you ask more questions. When you ask more questions, you get more intel. That helps you craft better decisions with your team."

Avoid giving permission to 'expect less'

Dudley also says we can learn to lead better by removing the word "just" from our vocabulary.  

"'Oh I'm just starting out; I'm just middle management; I'm just a receptionist; I'm just a bus driver.' Every time we use the word 'just' to describe what we do and who we are, [we give] people permission to expect less from us."

Both say we should all aim to lead a little bit more in our job, no matter what it is. That means helping someone get ahead, telling another what a good job they're doing, or letting a co-worker know how much you appreciate them.

All of this will not only help grow your career, but also increase the feeling of accomplishment in your role.

That, they say, is real leadership.

About the Author

Rubina Ahmed-Haq

Business columnist

Rubina is a business columnist who has been covering money matters for more than 10 years. Her career began 20 years ago as a news reporter. After a decade on the news beat she realized her passion was discussing personal finance issues. Now, she weighs in on money and workplace matters on CBC Radio, CBC TV and CBC News Network. Her goal is to get Canadians to take control of their personal finances on their own.

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