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Being in the middle is not a new term, especially as it relates to family, middle America or what about oreo cookies and tootsie pops. In all of these examples it's typically the middle that holds things together and where much of the value lies.
On the other hand, Leading From the Middle, is a much newer organizational concept. Tradional thinking decrees that leading requires being out front, ahead of, before or from the top. Leading From the Middle is an intersection of inspiration, ideas, innovation and influence. The ideology of leading is no longer the dance between dominance and submission.