Who is a
valuable employee at your organization? Any good list will include informal leaders, because even though
these colleagues lead without a title, they are more vital than ever before. In
our data-hungry workplaces, managers have to get more done with less.

They are asked to be agile, respond to global movements and increase productivity. But we also know managers can be roadblocks to moving forward due to their workload and clunky corporate management.

Enter the
informal leaders who have a wide sphere of influence, aren’t afraid to share
knowledge and are able to build deep networks in all levels of the

With a
rapidly changing workplace and more than 70 percent of organizations undergoing
digital transformation, it’s clear that change is going to be present for some
time. We need people who can flex with the twists and turns of a morphing
global economy. Informal leaders excel at this skill, and we should do more to
support and encourage them.

how to sidestep tedious hierarchies and support informal leaders in your

Tip #1: Offer learning opportunities
Employees crave training and career
mobility, but our organizations aren’t very good at giving them those

In the war for talent, it’s imperative that we offer employees opportunities to learn. They know that skill building, reskilling and career planning are mindset shifts professionals must take if they are to remain competitive.

too, must consider how appealing their learning and performance management
programs are to prospective employees. If your organization competes with a
commitment to growing its people, there’s no limit to where they can go with
recruiting and development. 

your talent management technology platform (if you have one). Informal leaders
can share their expertise with a wider audience with online Q&As, webinars,
video messages and virtual classes. By allowing wider dissemination of their
knowledge, informal leaders can grow their influence while furthering business
goals at the same time.

Tip #2: Encourage exploration
Self-discovery is a treasure, and
something we could all do more of during our workday. Enable self-learning by
making sure that informal leaders can schedule blocks of time to pay attention
to their own interests, goals and personal development.

on the technology available, you may point them to additional skills
development, internal job postings, thought leadership articles and mentoring

should help informal leaders know more about the “business” and forces that
influence their particular industry. Since these folks are seldom involved in
high-level decision making – or even the meetings where decisions are made – it
is helpful to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges, opportunities
and global drivers the business faces.

informal leaders by connecting the dots between the organization’s high-level
goals and how they dovetail into their personal goals.

Tip #3: Help build leadership skills with
frequent feedback

Your informal leaders may be operating in a bit of a vacuum as they move between groups and expand their circle of influence. The Human Capital Institute found that less than 50 percent of employees know what is expected of them at work. And busy managers who have their hands full may not stop and consider that these valuable employees need coaching and feedback.

HR expert and speaker Susan Mazza
says that taking on leadership roles without authority is the “best training ground
for developing…leadership skills.” Why? “Because authority can actually
mask whether you are leading through the power of your authority or through
your influence. Without direct authority over others, you must learn to
influence others if you want to succeed,” Susan notes.

Receiving feedback from others
on how we perform is one of the best ways to develop leadership skills. With
feedback, informal leaders can enjoy increased responsibility and exposure in
the organization.

Of course, the manager is the
first stop on the road to feedback, but seeking out others, including peers,
executives and even customers for feedback can be enlightening.

Informal leaders need your support
Our workplaces flourish with the help of
informal leaders who influence others, even as they lack a title. Offering
these valuable employees more support and encouragement matters as we all
struggle to compete in the war for talent.

By offering informal leaders
learning opportunities, encouraging exploration and building their leadership
skills through authentic feedback, organizations signal to all employees that
development matters. Here’s to the informal leaders: may they always learn,
develop and help take our organizations into the future.

The post Supporting your employees who lead without a title appeared first on HR Morning.

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