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NON-POSITIONAL
LEADERSHIP
KIMBERLY WHITE
BIRMINGHAM-SOUTHERN COLLEGE
ACTIVITY: REFLECTION
Take 5 minutes and reflect on a situation where you served as a leader,
despite not being in a “tradi...
WHAT IS NON-POSITIONAL
LEADERSHIP?
WHAT IS NON-POSITIONAL
LEADERSHIP?
Non-positional leadership is a concept derived from many different
leadership experts, ...
WHY IS NON-POSITIONAL
LEADERSHIP IMPORTANT?
Non-positional leadership is important for a number of reasons, the
main one b...
RELATIONAL LEADERSHIP
Non-positional leadership comes from the theory of relational leadership,
as described by Komives et...
RELATIONAL LEADERSHIP
Relational leadership focuses on five primary components, particularly
when non-positional leadershi...
NON-POSITIONAL LEADERSHIP
AND POWER
When we think about leadership, we often consider the importance of
titles and positio...
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
Leading by example is perhaps one of the most practical aspects of
non-positional leadership, because i...
HOW DO I LEAD FROM MY
POSITION?
There are many ways to take on the activities associated with being a
leader without a for...
ACTIVITY: REFLECTION
Take a moment to reflect on your current role in your student
organization. Consider the following qu...
QUESTIONS?
Thank you! If you have additional questions, or would like to reflect
further on non-positional leadership with...
REFERENCES
Komives S. R., Lucas, N., & McMahon T. R. (1998). Exploring leadership. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Maxwell, J....
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Non-Positional Leadership

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A presentation that I give to different student organizations about non-positional leadership and team building.

Published in: Education

Non-Positional Leadership

  1. 1. NON-POSITIONAL LEADERSHIP KIMBERLY WHITE BIRMINGHAM-SOUTHERN COLLEGE
  2. 2. ACTIVITY: REFLECTION Take 5 minutes and reflect on a situation where you served as a leader, despite not being in a “traditional leadership role.” This could be in a professional setting, in your student organization, in a group project, in the classroom, or anywhere on campus. Answer the following questions as you reflect: • What was my reaction when I was called to “step up” and lead? • Did the lack of a leadership title cause me to refrain from “stepping up”? • What was the outcome? • How did this situation affect my approach to leadership, and how I work in a group situation today? Continue thinking about this activity throughout the course of our discussion.
  3. 3. WHAT IS NON-POSITIONAL LEADERSHIP?
  4. 4. WHAT IS NON-POSITIONAL LEADERSHIP? Non-positional leadership is a concept derived from many different leadership experts, such as Astin & Astin (Social Change Model), Greenleaf (Servant-Leadership), Susan Komives, and John C. Maxwell. Non-positional leadership can be defined as an approach to leadership that focuses on the ability to make a positive impact from any place on the “organizational hierarchy.” By serving the needs of the group, contributing to its mission and goals, and working productively and collaboratively with others, leadership can take place at any level. Non-positional leadership isn’t necessarily about committing large, sweeping acts of change, but rather taking on whatever is necessary – including smaller, supportive, or administrative tasks – to contribute to the group’s functioning.
  5. 5. WHY IS NON-POSITIONAL LEADERSHIP IMPORTANT? Non-positional leadership is important for a number of reasons, the main one being that it focuses on relationship and skill building rather than organizational hierarchy. By encouraging each member of the group to “step up” and lead in different ways, we can: • Let all members of the group shine, take credit for their work, and continuously sharpen their skill sets; • Share the work amongst the entire group, rather than confine it to those with official titles and positions; • Bring new ideas and perspectives to the table, particularly those of our underclassmen who aren’t yet in official roles; • Foster a sense of community, buy-in to our ideas, and enthusiasm around our goals.
  6. 6. RELATIONAL LEADERSHIP Non-positional leadership comes from the theory of relational leadership, as described by Komives et al. (1998). • Relational leadership is defined as a relational process of people attempting to accomplish change to benefit the common good, and is deeply focused on the building and cultivating of relationships. It is comprised of two models: positional and non-positional. • Positional leadership: when one strives to take on a traditional leadership role, assuming the duties associated with what they believe to be “leadership at the top” to obtain such a role. • This approach centers around the title and perception of leadership. • Non-positional leadership: occurs when individuals seek to deepen their involvement in an organization as a member, with no particular interest in establishing a “leadership at the top” role. • This approach centers around the qualities that relate to leadership, such as supporting the forward momentum of the group and providing vision for the future, without necessarily the interest in the title and perception of leadership.
  7. 7. RELATIONAL LEADERSHIP Relational leadership focuses on five primary components, particularly when non-positional leadership is considered (Komives, 1998). The five components include community members who are: • Inclusive of people and diverse points of view • Empowering to those that are involved • Purposeful and build commitment toward a common goal • Ethical • Understanding that leadership is process-oriented (how the group works together) When an organization practices relational leadership, they typically work together as a community, are committed to a common purpose, share the work, and understand that the role of each member, regardless of titles or position, is crucial to success.
  8. 8. NON-POSITIONAL LEADERSHIP AND POWER When we think about leadership, we often consider the importance of titles and positions – the power associated with leadership roles. But, it can be argued that by practicing non-positional leadership, we can cultivate influence among the group. Non-positional leadership, by definition, has to do with making an impact through leading by example and cultivating influence through action, impact, and supportive behavior. Non-positional leadership is doing, rather than holding a title. “All the effective leaders I have encountered – both those I worked with and those I merely watched – knew four simple things: a leader is someone who has followers; popularity is not leadership, results are; leaders are highly visible, they set examples; leadership is not rank, privilege, titles or money, it is responsibility.” – Peter Drucker
  9. 9. LEADING BY EXAMPLE Leading by example is perhaps one of the most practical aspects of non-positional leadership, because it brings an “abstract” idea down into our daily lives. In Maxwell’s (1998) 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Law 13 has to do with leading by example, no matter the leader’s role in an organization. He claims that the most valuable gift a leader can give is being a good example. • The idea that leadership is “caught, not taught.” He asserts that we “catch” leadership by watching good leaders in action. • It’s not necessarily about where a leader is on the organizational chart, but rather the activities that the leader is willing to take on to move the group forward.
  10. 10. HOW DO I LEAD FROM MY POSITION? There are many ways to take on the activities associated with being a leader without a formal title or position. (It’s important to note that leaders with formal titles should take on these responsibilities, too!) Non-positional leadership can be practiced in a variety of ways, including: • Building relationships as well as our credibility • Taking initiative to help others in the group • Using your unique perspective and background to lend another voice to the discussion • Practicing grateful leadership and servant-leadership • Being appreciative of your team members, collaborating closely with them, and doing your best to serve each member in different ways • Leading from a place of integrity and ethics
  11. 11. ACTIVITY: REFLECTION Take a moment to reflect on your current role in your student organization. Consider the following questions: • What can I do to be an effective leader in my current role? • How can I support the other members of my (group, committee, organization)? • What about my skill set makes me unique? How can I lend my expertise to some of the projects our group is working on? • Ex. I have experience and interest in event planning, and can help our activities board with the logistics by creating a “to-do list” for our next campus-wide event. • Am I leading with credibility and integrity? • No matter how small your act of leadership may be!
  12. 12. QUESTIONS? Thank you! If you have additional questions, or would like to reflect further on non-positional leadership with me, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Kimberly White Internship Coordinator Norton 266 226-3037 or kwhite@bsc.edu Drop-in hours are on Thursdays from 1-3pm, or by appointment.
  13. 13. REFERENCES Komives S. R., Lucas, N., & McMahon T. R. (1998). Exploring leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Maxwell, J.C. (1998). The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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