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Effective Leadership Shifts

In order to be effective in today’s global marketplace, matrix leaders need to lead horizontally and without authority.

Times Have Changed and So Has Leadership

Leaders are used to giving and taking orders up and down the organizational hierarchy. They’ve been doing it since the days of Vertical Management and even Matrix Management 1.0, the dual-reporting hybrid that emerged in the 70’s.

Times have changed and there are seven shifts leaders need to make in order to be effective team members, customers, suppliers, sponsors, and team leaders.

1. Fill Both Horizontal and Vertical Roles

When we focus horizontally instead of vertically, everyone assumes multiple roles and relationships, none of which are based on authority. You can be a leader and still be a customer, a supplier, a team leader, team member, sponsor, or stakeholder, etc.

2. Manage Their Sphere of Control

The only person you can control is yourself. Leaders in a matrix must operate both independently and interdependently—in different environments, teams, and roles. To do this effectively, you must learn to recognize your sphere of control. Leading without authority requires you do just that.

3. Lead With Accountability

If authority isn’t the right tool for you, what is? Matrix accountability is the first tool you must learn to use effectively if you want to be successful.

4. Use Collaborative Leadership Methods

When commitment from team members is voluntary, you must be able to generate the necessary commitment. The best way to do this is by negotiating realistic outcomes and using collaborative methods to lead the team through the structured team-based process of planning how they will be delivered.

5. Build High-Performing Teams

In the horizontal dimension, leaders are sometimes team leaders, but they are often team members. You must be able to contribute to team success, even when the team is being led by a peer.

6. Lead People and Manage Systems

In Vertical Management, the focus was on management. In Matrix Management 1.0, management was a dirty word and the focus shifted to leadership. In Matrix Management 2.0™, we need both—leadership (to lead people) and management (to manage systems).

7. Act as a Coach Instead of a Boss

If you have direct reports, you must focus on how you can support the development of your direct reports. Instead of being a boss, you must become a partner—a coach.

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