Lead the Wesleyan way: How to be a leader every day without the job title to match

This past May, I celebrated my three-year anniversary as a Hyland employee. A work anniversary is not always easy to remember, but May 11 also stands out for a family birthday and the day I closed on our first house. Those associations have made it stick a little stronger than usual for me.

The move to Hyland has been nothing but positive, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with great people. There’s a reason Hyland is annually among the best employers in the Cleveland area and in the country, placing in Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for five years in a row.

Each year, Hyland adopts a theme to channel our efforts and energy that leadership identifies. The theme for 2018 is “Lead”. We lead as not just a top workplace, but in our industry. Hyland is consistently one of the Leaders in the Gartner Magic Quadrant and our customers do incredible things with our products.

What it means to lead

But aside from the sales job I have and the role I play, how can I lead as a Hylander after three years here? I don’t have a management role and I don’t supervise any team members. I hold no position of authority whatsoever. But be it at Hyland or elsewhere, any team member can lead in their own unique way.

On my desk is a quote attributed to English cleric and theologian John Wesley, framed as a college graduation gift from my rock star advisor, Dr. Herb Broda:

Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.

Not one of these lines has anything to do with a job title or designated role. As a team member here at Hyland, a husband at home and a person of faith, I believe it’s my responsibility to do all that I can to improve the world around me. Those actions aren’t dependent on a job description or a title on a business card.

So how can you lead? How can you do your part to do all the good possible? It’s not that hard, I promise! Here are 10 ways I’ve been able to lead in my role, every day. Some of these are business specific, but some are just because we all need to be good human beings. Either way, leading takes many forms:

1. Answer every question your colleagues have with the same vigor and care that you would want it answered for you. No exceptions.

2. Always ask, “How can I be helpful?” in every team interaction. Sometimes it’s nice to be overt about the way you care for and support your teammates.

3. Keep in mind that when the team wins, we all win. At the end of the day, we’re all rowing in the same direction.

4. Celebrate the success of every team member, even if you are having a rough streak. You don’t need to wave pom poms or get balloons. I’m not that guy either. But like No. 3, we’re all rowing in the same direction.

5. Always be mindful that every business is in the people business. Every decision made and every conversation taking place has another human being at the other end of it.

6. Hold the door open, say please and thank you, and be courteous to those you interact with. This is especially true when interacting with wait staff and customer service folks. They’ll remember.

7. When I was a teacher, my father, himself a 30-plus year educator, told me that the most important people in the building to get to know were the secretaries, custodians and food services staff. He was right then, and is right still. People in these roles work hard, and can be very helpful if you are a good teammate to them, no matter where you work.

8. Be on time. Actually, be early. Early is on time and on time is late. Late is unacceptable.

9. Read everything. In my role, it’s my job to know what’s going on in the worlds that my customers live in. Read up, learn what you can, and at least know enough to be dangerous. That small amount of consideration for what’s important to others does matter.

10. Know that it isn’t always about you. In fact, it very rarely is.

This list of ways to lead could be more than 10. Heck, it could be more than 20 or 30! But, as Wesley stated, it’s important to do all the good you can, in all the ways you can – and this provides a clear sense of direction for me on how I can find little ways to lead, every day.

A version of this was originally published on LinkedIn.

Joe Russo is a strategic account manager at Hyland. Currently, Joe also writes for Factory of Sadness, a Cleveland sports website operated by Fansided, and The OnBase and Hyland Blogs. His work has also appeared on Mic.com and The Fraternity Advisor.
Joe Russo

Joe Russo

Joe Russo is a strategic account manager at Hyland. Currently, Joe also writes for Factory of Sadness, a Cleveland sports website operated by Fansided, and The OnBase and Hyland Blogs.... read more about: Joe Russo