Leadership for individual contributors – part II

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Dec 29

In the last post in this series , I wrote about one of the ways that a person can exhibit personal leadership through becoming a knowledge expert in a particular area that was important to the business goals.

There are more ways to show yourself as a leader even though you are an individual contributor working in cubedom.

Another way of showing leadership is through consistent, value-added delivery of your work.

You do work, right? If so, you might as well do the very best job you can within your personal parameters (I’m not into working 18-hours a day for a corporation, just to be clear on this). You build a reputation around delivery and performance in your job. As you are given tasks and projects to work on, you continue to deliver and learn from each of these experiences. As you deliver to all of these tasks and projects, you are exposed to multiple people in many areas of the company and all have the same story: if you want to get this done, give it to Scot.

Ask ten people the question: “With no training, in a tough spot, and a critical deliverable – who should I give this work to in order to get this done?”

If you get the same answer in your work area enough, you just found your delivery leader.

The interesting thing about this is that the person talked about often doesn’t know they are a delivery leader. They just know that they are constantly asked to work on hard things in many areas. If this happens to you, look at your delivery and see if it is the reason why.

I had a manager once that shared with me the delivery story — I’ve been grateful every since. My manager went to this executive vice president of the company – someone I had never met, someone an organization over from me, and someone two levels up in the organization – to discuss a problem of delivery and asked what to do about it. That executive vice president said to my manager, “Give it to Scot. He’s never failed in anything he has personally been involved within the company.”

Took me by surprise. Two levels up, an organization over, and I’d never met the person. Yet, the answer was give it to me because I would deliver.

Hey, if your company is considering layoffs and business reorganizations and agility in employees, I could think of worse reputations to have with senior management than “always delivers.”

Personal leadership can be all about delivery.