Chapter 25. Everyone Can Lead with Leverage

Steve Heller

Leverage is an essential aspect of leadership whereby one’s own work enables other people’s work. Everyone can and should lead.

The glue that binds an effective team and organization is more than the group’s collection of skills and knowledge; it consists of the ways we work together, and especially the ways in which we enable one another. When your effort enables and amplifies other people’s work, you can be described as a multiplier, and your work exerts leverage. Tech leads and managers constantly enable their teammates; it’s their job. For example:

  • Projects need planning and ongoing facilitation to progress efficiently.

  • Individual contributors (ICs) need coaching to grow and become more effective.

  • Teams need leadership to establish a productive environment and modes of collaboration.

How ICs Can Exert Leverage

In addition to team leads and managers, colleagues who build tools and platforms also exert leverage as part of their jobs. All of these roles have natural leverage and enable an organization to operate efficiently.

We can all do work that has leverage, enabling and multiplying the efforts of our colleagues. In fact, it is quite rare that an employee has broad impact or progresses to senior ranks with just expertise (depth) or perspective (breadth), or even both.

What might an individual contributor ...

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