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Non-Positional Leadership refers to any leadership initiative taken outside of any traditional leadership role (such as boss, manager, etc.). Have you ever taken responsibility of a situation when you weren’t technically named the leader? You could have taken a non-positional leadership role in this scenario. These positions of leadership that happen at any stage of the workplace hierarchy are crucial for an organization to run smoothly. Non-positional leadership takes the form of small actions from anyone in order to reach one shared mission or goal. Defined as a positive impact from anyone, this approach to leadership includes everyone and makes everyone accountable in the success or failures of an organization.

Non-positional leadership awards everyone the opportunity to be an important contributing member to an organization. When this happens, a company can thrive on new ideas, distributed work loads, and more. This form of leadership focuses on developing skills and relationships between people rather than focusing on the ladder on which the organization is built, which often distinguishes between leaders and followers with titles like “boss”, “manager”, and “CEO”. While these titles are important for organization within a group, they often conflate the ideas of responsibility with the title you are awarded. When everyone in an organization takes responsibility and acts as a leader through everyday actions, there will be greater success in the long run.

When a title is conflated with what it really means to be a leader, there can be separation between action and word. The people who hold the title of a leader simply hold this title. There are connotations behind the word “leader” that imply a stance of power within an organization. If you strip away the title, the important part left to being a leader are the steps and actions you take to be an example, take initiative, etc. While a great leader should do all these things, it is not only up to a “leader” to lead. Being and individual in a position of power does not automatically qualify them as a leader.  

Anyone can be a leader, and should be. To lead is to influence people, which can come from anywhere. If you go to work every day and offer new ideas, get your work done, or volunteer for work outside of your day-to-day tasks, you are being a leader. While taking on a leadership role, you are also influencing other people to be leaders as well, which happens more naturally when relationships (not often seen within an organization’s hierarchy) can be created. In fact, there are arguments that fostering new leadership can be hindered if you lead from a position of power.

Taking action as a leader betters the organization, those around you, and most importantly, yourself.