Every organization has people who influence and energize others without relying on their title or formal position in the hierarchy to do so. We call them “authentic informal leaders.” They are a powerful resource in spreading a critical few behaviors from the bottom up. Among the many types of informal leaders present in organizations, the following are seen most frequently.
Pride builders are master motivators of other people, and catalysts for improvement around them. Often found in the role of line manager, they understand the motivations of those with whom they work. They know how to foster a sense of excellence among others. They can be found at every level of a hierarchy; some of the most effective pride builders are close to the front line, where they can interact directly with customers as well as employees. Pride builders often have powerful insights about the culture and about what behaviors are likely to lead to improvement.
Exemplars are role models. They bring vital behaviors or skills to life, and others pay attention to them. They are well respected and are effective peer influencers in the middle and senior management cohorts.
Networkers are hubs of personal communication within the organization. They know many people, and communicate freely and openly with them. They serve as links among people who might not otherwise share information or ideas. If you want to see an idea travel virally through an enterprise, enlist your networkers.
4. Early adopters
Early adopters enthusiastically latch onto and experiment with new technologies, processes, and ways of working. Involve them in your performance pilots, or whenever you are trying to demonstrate impact quickly.