How to Identify The Hidden Leaders In Your Company

Document created by 1017515 on Jun 4, 2015
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renee for news.jpgAre there “hidden leaders” in your company? Hidden leaders are those individuals who provide leadership within your organization without the benefit of title or authority to do so.  Often, the key to their leadership presence is through strong relationships with other employees and managers. 


On the surface, these individuals simply appear to be a valued employee who always gets their job done.  Observe them closer and you will see the relationships they have developed with their co-workers.  How have they formed relationships as a peer in which they are able to lead other team members without having the title of “manager”? Are they simply that well liked? Perhaps.  These days, however, that just is not enough to get other people to follow you.  Here are some other traits of these hidden leaders:


  • Hidden leaders usually come equipped with an expertise that is valuable in their current position.  It may be technical expertise in a specific area such as engineering, or it could be professional expertise in sales, for example.  Either way, there is an established track record they can bring to the organization or team.  This type of experience quickly establishes trust in this individual and his/her ability.


  • Hidden leaders present their point of view very well. Their reasoning is logical and rational and they exercise good judgment.  For this reason, their opinions are valued and sought after. Their ideas may not always be accepted, but they are always heard because their ideas have solid facts behind them.


  • Hidden leaders connect with their colleagues on a personal level as well as a professional level.  Emotional connections are how we show frustration, enthusiasm, energy and support.  Such shared emotions can spread across a team and lead to collaboration, higher productivity, inspired creativity or broad-based support of an innovative idea. Co-workers will seek out such an individual to validate their own ideas.


Also of interest, these hidden leaders tend to develop such relationships across the organization, crossing divisional lines, geographical boundaries and management channels.  In many cases, hidden leaders can have broader-reaching relationships than their own managers. 


Hidden leaders do not have to remain hidden.  Identify them and approach them about their interest in using their natural leadership abilities for the good of the team and of the organization as a whole. If they are interested, help them to move toward a leadership role with a title.  If they are not interested, ask if they would use their “hidden” leadership talents to mentor others to achieve similar results and to seek out other hidden leaders within the company.