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The Importance of Leading UP

In the world of leadership, you will oftentimes hear various leadership phrases and sayings that I like to refer to as Leadership Colloquialisms.

You know the phrases that every leader has come to be familiar with, such as:

Walk the Talk

Lead by Example

Everything Rises and Falls With Leadership

Attitude Reflects Leadership …

Let’s unpack one of the more often spoken, but rarely implemented, Leadership Colloquialisms known as “Leading Up.”

Leading up basically means that a leader challenges and exerts his or her leadership prowess at the next level or higher in their organization. This doesn’t mean that the leader attempts to flex their leadership muscle with their boss and tell their boss “How it is!”

It simply means that a leader challenges, leads up and adds value to the organization by being willing to push appropriate organizational envelopes and have the necessary conversations for the benefit of the organization.

Leading up is less about the leader being willing to lead up and more about the leadership culture embracing the concept of leading up.

If leading up isn’t occurring, it’s time for the leader to take a long look in the mirror. Leading up absolutely will not occur if the culture doesn’t embrace it.

If the leader is truly willing to create a culture of leading up and having the types of team members that are willing to lead up, they will create a win-win-win environment. Not only will the leader be challenged to grow on a consistent basis, they will have an opportunity to learn from individuals up and down the organizational chart, all while creating an environment of open communication.

If you want people to lead up, create a culture that allows it.

If you want people to lead up, be prepared for strong opinions. 

If you want people to lead up, don’t hire yes men and yes women, hire leaders.

If you want people to lead up, you better walk the talk and remember that attitude reflects leadership captain.

Share your thoughts on leading up and your experiences with the ability or inability to lead up!  

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Scott Williams served as a key leader and Campus Pastor for LifeChurch.tv. He is the Chief Solutions Officer for Nxt Level Solutions, a consulting company he founded to help businesses, non-profits and individuals with both internal and external growth. Scott is speaker, strategist, consultant and developer of leaders. He is an avid blogger at BigIsTheNewSmall.com, and leverages Social Media to make a Kingdom impact. Scott is passionate about leadership development, organizational growth and diversity. He is the author of “Church Diversity – Sunday The Most Segregated Day Of The Week.” Scott is married, a father of two, and lives in Oklahoma City, OK.