Leadership is often seen as something that happens from the top-down, but a person doesn’t need to be in management to be a leader. Just ask Bart Crawford, CEO of Crawford Collaborative Consulting, and Glen Fayolle, Co-Founder of Vertex Innovation.

Bart Crawford

The two leadership experts have teamed up with the Flint & Genesee Chamber to facilitate a four-part workshop series on Co-Active Leadership, a concept rooted in the belief that everyone is a leader.

“Leadership doesn’t have anything to do with where you are in your workplace hierarchy or how much experience you have,” says Fayolle. “Once you take responsibility for the world around you, you become a leader—even if it's just for yourself.”

Glen Fayolle

In fact, “leading from within” is just one of five ways a person can lead based on the Co-Active Leadership model. They can also lead in front, behind, beside and in the field.

And according to Crawford and Fayolle, it’s not uncommon for people to transition from one leadership style throughout the day.

In advance of the next Co-Active Leadership workshop, Inside Business connected with the duo to discuss the importance of leadership development – for the individual employee as well as the employer.

The focus of your Feb. 14 workshop will be on leading from the front and from behind. What do these two leadership styles entail? 

  • GF:  When we talk about leading from the front, it's not just about “being the boss.” It's about how to connect with people and give them purpose or direction. And being a leader from behind isn’t stepping out of the way to be let somebody else lead. It’s being a coach on the sidelines, where you’re working to help others reach their full potential.

How does a person benefit when they understand and practice multi-dimensional leadership styles like this?

  • BC:  Teams all face challenges and problem solving is often a point where communication can fray. Exploring multi-dimensional leadership gives leaders various approaches to consider when striving to become the most effective and efficient team possible.

How does an employer benefit from embracing this kind of leadership model?

  • BC:  It creates an environment that maximizes the level of engagement and the number of people that can participate. With Co-Active Leadership, people are able to open up and learn from each other—sometimes beyond what they had anticipated was possible. It stretches the paradigm of learning, creativity and possibility.

"Leading from the Front and Behind” is the second session in a four-part series, although the workshop is open to first-time attendees as well. To register for the event, which will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 14, click here.