Don't Lead Everything
We're all heirs of the concept that leadership means authority and direction. As such, we all are subject to certain weaknesses, like being the big cheese. Save those slices of Swiss for a sandwich. You want to be a real leader, which means helping the drive for the organization's principles and goals. You don't have to run everything to make that possible.
Choose Your Battlegrounds
When you are thoroughly in the middle of the organization, you don't have the power to force broad change, so don't every try. Look at what you want to do and see if it smacks of taking over the organization. You're highly unlikely to be successful, and you'll end up wasting energy in the process.
Instead, you want to consider where you could best influence the organization and other people. That means starting where you are, not where you might like to be. Step up in a project or function that needs help. Concentrate on the operations of the part of the organization in which you find yourself. If you focus and attain some success, you'll find that over time you can lead on a broader basis.
Not a Battle
You can run into trouble by becoming antagonistic. You don't want to do that because then you're involved in a power struggle, not in leading to get something done. Find a way to include others without trying to force them to take part. Leading is getting someone to follow the same course, not to drag them kicking and screaming. If you find things getting tense, review the conflict resolution techniques discussed in Chapter 10.
Be aware of the politics within your organization by paying attention to what goes on around you. Keep your eyes and ears open. You will be amazed at what other people know, even when they are in positions that you might normally associate with “scut work.”
Know who works with others and whom to avoid at all cost. Know who does what and the best way to approach each person. Above all, remember that the ultimate goal is to gain respect from others, not make them resent you. Look for information, but don't descend into using people.
A leader is someone who gets others to help achieve a goal. Nowhere in that definition is there a statement that a leader cannot work with other leaders, even on the same goal. In fact, all great undertakings — the Civil Rights movement, World War II, the drive to cure polio — involve multiple leaders. You can't be everywhere and do everything, so don't try to.
As you work to lead, you'll find that others in the organization will take up the call and start pushing to achieve and to uphold the highest principles of the organization. Welcome the company. Ultimately, you'll find that you need those companions to achieve your vision.