There are people in every company who lift their team’s spirit and lead them without even realizing it. Everyone knows and can pinpoint them among others. They are the ones we look up to in difficult situations, they are the ones we want to be friends with, and the ones we turn to for support. They demonstrate leadership and get things done in the best way possible without actually having to do so. These are the people who we call informal leaders.
So, who are these people? What characteristics do they have? And how can you identify your company’s informal leaders with the help of Lucky Carrot?
What is an Informal Leader?
An informal leader is someone who doesn’t have formal power over their peers but has a huge amount of influence on them. Informal leaders come in different shapes and forms and there’s no unique leadership style that applies to all informal leaders. However, according to recent academic research, there are still certain qualities that all people with informal leadership skills have in common.
- They’re humble and always ready to help without ulterior motives. Being “open” and easy to reach is one of the most attractive qualities of every informal leader. People feel safe to turn to them for support because they know how ready they’re to help without judgment.
- They know company values and deeply understand the organization. The majority of informal leaders are the ones who’ve been working in the company for a long time. They know all the “do’s” and “don’ts” of the workplace so it’s only logical that younger peers will come to them for a piece of advice.
- They have high communication skills and are good at making friends. Informal leaders always build relationships inside the company. They know everyone from every department and are more than happy to solve any cross-departmental problems.
- They’re eager and ready to adapt to new things. Most informal leaders are the ones who catch on to the innovations faster than others. They’re always ready to work on new projects or try out new tools and technologies.
The Benefits of Finding Your Company’s Informal Leaders
Here’s a hard pill to swallow: you may have a formal supervisor, but most of the time it’s informal leader’s opinion that matters more for your employees.
Now that you know how crucial is the role of informal leaders for every company, let’s figure out the benefits of identifying your own company’s informal leaders.
The first thing you need to know is that informal leader’s role is, surprisingly, very underrated. Many companies tend to straight-up neglect them and ignore the importance they bring to the team. But finding your informal leaders is not only beneficial but even essential for your company.
Remember, informal leaders have an enormous influence on others, which means that they can be very helpful in raising the team’s spirit and motivating them. Each one of them has some kind of control over their peers so they can be your solution to many problems but also, in some situations, your main headache. Informal leaders often don’t realize the power they hold so they can also sabotage your projects and turn your own employees against you if they don’t agree with your decisions.
This is the main reason you need to realize how important it is to start working with informal leaders. If you start to recognize your informal leaders and give them the tools and support to spread their influence on others, you can have an organically motivated team and a healthy relationship among your employees.
Identifying Your Informal Leaders with The Help of Lucky Carrot
So how can you identify these guys? Unfortunately, informal leaders sometimes can be very hard to find and are not always the ones you would expect. Maybe you think the right thing to do is to look by the position they hold but everything is not that simple with these folks. You have to try different methods for this case. For example, try to remember who’s your “go-to” person if you have a task that absolutely has to be accomplished. Or who’s the person your every employee pinpoints when you ask them the same question? If you notice that some names repeat more than once, then you may be on the right track to finding your informal leaders.
But there’s another more effective way that Lucky Carrot provides. Lucky Carrot is not only a great peer-to-peer recognition system for your employees but it can also be a valuable analytical tool for you. Here’s how you can find your company’s informal leaders in a quick and easy way.
First, let’s go to the “Leaderboard” section which you can find in the “Recognition” category. It looks like this at the very beginning and shows you the people with the largest amount of received carrots.
Now, let’s change it a little bit to have a clearer picture of what we’re actually looking for – our informal leaders. One of the coolest features of Leaderboard is the ability to select values. We’ve already discussed what qualities most informal leaders have and with Lucky Carrot you can choose the people who meet these requirements. Let’s see who are the ones that carry one of the most important values for Informal Leaders – the ability to make decisions. When the selected value is the “Decision-Making” we can see who are the ones responsible for taking actions inside your company. If one of the people in higher positions is not required to do it by their position, then you may have found one of your informal leaders.
In our case, Diana is our CTO and it’s her responsibility to make decisions, but Nicolas, who’s in second place, doesn’t have a manager’s position, and making decisions is just in his nature. So we can most certainly say that Nicolas is one of our informal leaders.
Still, you can change your values to be more sure of the results. For example, we can choose “Problem-Solving” as our core value and we see that Nicolas is now in the first place. Congratulations, you’ve found your informal leader by two clicks and now you know who’s always there to help others make difficult decisions or solve any emerging problem. Easy, isn’t it?
Identifying your company’s informal leaders can be a hard task to do but it’s oh so worth it. They have an enormous influence on their teammates and even on the future of your company. If you can find them on time and work together the results may be truly astonishing. Fortunately, Lucky Carrot is here to assist you on your journey of identifying them!