Productivity As Leadership

by: James Pearce

I always hear people saying that simply being present somewhere means they’ve done something. I don’t really think this is true. However, I do think that if someone is productive, that productivity itself is a form of leadership.

If someone puts in solid effort and that effort is worthy and produces something with utility to the project, to other people, or to the targeted goal of the work, then it has leadership value. Let me further explain how that fits leadership rather than just simply accomplishment.

In groups, whether those groups are at work or in our personal lives, some people simply get more done than others. If that work is quality and creates utility, then it tends to get the attention of others in the group. It establishes what is possible for a particular project. It, simply by existing, sets the tone for the work of others. Some of the others in the group may not have done any work. If that is the case, those people tend to follow the work that is present because otherwise they’ll have no connection to the project. Those who haven’t done anything are virtually forced into following others who have done something.

Let’s also establish that I haven’t said that the work produced was quality. The work may be of very poor quality, but since it is there it offers leadership of ideas to others. That leadership of ideas or actions emerging from the work puts the producer of that work into the spotlight, even if the spotlight is small in scope. Credibility is built. Other group members realize they can count on this person when work needs to be accomplished.

As time passes, and the hard worker continues to always deliver work, their social credibility rises and before long, others are looking to them to lead the way. Once again, notice that we didn’t say the work was quality. I think what I’ve discovered in my working life is that there are millions of people out there and most of them don’t do as much as they say they do. They talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Those who walk the walk tend to pick up followers and more followers lends social credibility.

Therefore, if you want to become a better leader, start at this grassroots level. Simply produce often and never miss a deadline. Soon, others will flock to you and follow you and your work.

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