Why Real Leaders Don’t Need a Corner Office

real leaders don't need corner office

For some people, power (and therefore impact) sits in symbols of power such as a corner office, a nice company car or an executive assistant.

Symbols can, at times, play an impactful role but real and lasting impact is so much bigger than that. It’s how you conduct yourself, your actions and behaviours, that will speak the loudest. And if you do that effectively, you definitely don’t need to have the biggest office to have an impact.

The impact you create is a major success factor regardless of your role or position. Do you know what impact you have on people around you; the organization, your colleagues, clients, media? And is it the one you want to create?

Actions & Behaviours Create Culture

Every day, your actions and behaviours create the culture you and your team(s) operate within. It starts with you and the ripple effect that you have. Everyone has an impact on their immediate culture and as a leader, your behaviour is magnified into the organization.

The experience you create in others, shapes the culture you’re in. And culture is the biggest driver of business success. That’s how powerful your impact is. And corner offices can’t achieve that, can they?

So, if you don’t already have one, create a strategy for your impact and what that will do for the business. You can’t depend on symbols of power, such as a corner office, to make you impactful. You need to take control of your own personal impact.

What all leaders have in common is that they always operate through others, they need to enable employees to do a great job. This is why your impact becomes your most important strategy in order to deliver the desired and expected results.

Maximising Your Impact

Your impact is and should be bigger than you. And if you are a senior leader in particular, it’s not about raising your own profile, your focus on impact should be for the good of the business, the greater good.

Consistent, powerful impact creates your legacy, what the history books would say about you. What you become known for. What do you want to be known for? What legacy do you choose? When you move on to the next role, what do you want to be remembered for?

We live in a world of fast-paced change. The amount and speed of change people are experiencing is more extensive than ever before. And in that volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous reality, how you lead is more important than ever.

It’s how you lead, how you make others feel that will make the difference in how they respond to and are able to not just survive but thrive in change with agility and resilience.

Don’t Leave Your Impact to Chance

You need to be intentional about your impact – you need to lead and role model the kind of impact behaviours the organisation, its people, its customers and all other stakeholders need.

Think about it: what behaviours will make people want to collaborate more, share more knowledge, experience and ideas, focus on finding the solutions and give it their all? And how can you lead the way in that, not just talking about it but living it yourself?

How to be a truly impactful leaderSome find the concept of creating impact challenging as it somehow seems false or fake to them to create impact and may therefore be reluctant to do something with this. This is particularly true for leaders in the early stages of their career.

If you’re a more senior leader, this concept needs to be at the forefront of your mind and something you should be comfortable with.

Remind yourself that creating impact is a positive, powerful and respectful commitment to excellence – that you care about how you impact the world around you – and that you always need to do this in an authentic way that suits you.

A Strategy for Impact

Whatever leadership role you’re in, it’s part of your job to ensure you have a strategy for your impact, which you can be in control of. You are never guaranteed the office, the car or any other visual proof of positional power, but the impact you choose through how you act and behave is entirely within your control to choose and create.

Yes, things move fast, we’re all surrounded by constant change. Leaders need to create impact in the moment, to not lose the power of that moment.

No one is perfect and no one will get it right all the time, but they need to at least seize their most important moments and create the impact that will help them connect with others in a respectful way, to create trust, get others to listen to them, to influence effectively and to drive results.

How Will You Be in Your Next Meeting?

We are all human beings, not human doings. How we operate rather than simply what we do is becoming increasingly critical to success. In fact, it is fast becoming the differentiating factor for successful executives, leaders and organisations overall, something that we observe every day in our work.

We all need to pay attention to how we want to be as well as what we want to do. When going into a meeting, most people focus on what to do and what to say, but if you don’t also focus on how to be, your impact will not be optimal.

So, in your next meeting, try some of these behaviours to maximise your impact

  • Be 100% present (no mobile, no laptop, no side conversations)
  • Listen without prejudice
  • Take a genuine interest in other people
  • Look for the bigger picture and help others see it too
  • Generously share your knowledge and insights
  • Show trust in others
  • Communicate openly, honestly and respectfully.

Yes, your behaviours are critical to your success, so think about what behaviours you want to be demonstrating and role modelling to others. Your personal impact can be much more powerful than any corner office could ever be.

About the author

This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Mandy Flint and Elisabet Vinberg Hearn who are leadership strategists with a focus on future trends for leadership. They are multi award-winning authors, their 3rd Book for FT publishing The Leader’s Guide to Impact is out now.

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