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To Become a Leader, Think Beyond Your Role


Sep. 2, 2015 Harvard Business Review

The world is full of people with opinions. Television, radio, and other media are brimming over with commentators making suggestions and offering seemingly authoritative advice to government officials and corporate executives about what they ought to do. At dinners and cocktail parties — and around the water cooler at work — we talk about what others should do or should have done, or the flaws of our bosses.

In our jobs, we may give our opinion on an issue from a functional or departmental point of view — in other words, a limited perspective. Or we may give an opinion without fully thinking about the issues and weighing the interests of various constituencies that our boss has to consider in order to make an important decision. We may do this because we don’t have access to additional information or, alternatively, because we believe that broadening our perspective simply isn’t part of our job description.

This kind of opinion giving may be quite appropriate and adequate in any number of situations, but it doesn’t constitute leadership. Leadership requires much more. It starts with taking on a broader perspective in figuring out what you truly believe should be done — that is, as if you were an owner.

 

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