Real economic strategy: Trickle up leadership

How you can start leading up, rather than letting it trickle down

We’ve all probably heard of trickle-down economics: Put the money back at the top of the business food chain and it finds its way down to the masses. 

In some cases this may work, but quite often the money stays at the top and literally the rich get richer. Leadership works in a similar way. 

If you centralize all the decision-making at the top without the input from those who are on the ground, closest to the work, that leadership is pooled at the top and gets further detached from the business. 

When the most senior leadership refuses to listen, value and leverage the ideas, contributions and capability of its people, you’ll virtually guarantee a toxic culture of victimization, disengagement and well-trained automatons who do what you say.

It’s not your boss’s fault. They have likely been trained to solve the problems on their own, hold the burden (and bonus) solely on their shoulders and just want things to get done. Their way.

For anything to change, you need to take responsibility. Course correct and continuously communicate what you need and want. It’s not about entitlement, it’s about tapping into creativity and being the owner of your career development.

Employees who so desperately want to contribute more, who take on and embrace the concept of self-authorship that leads to an enterprise leadership approach, can elevate a business.

At Kraukman – we can teach you how to train your boss.

If you recall, I had the opportunity to hear former US president Barack Obama speak at a leadership conference in San Diego a couple months ago. He talked about how he tapped into the resources he had, especially those who were on the ground floor. 

“We made sure that 22 to 25-year-olds were given significant responsibilities… we told them – we’re going to give you a lot of responsibility and hold you accountable for high performance,” Obama said. 

“People respond when you expect a lot from them and empower them.”

He urged leaders to call on the outer ring of people. The ones who do the work – the front-line people. Listen to your staff and ask for opinions and feedback… they’re the ones closest to the work.

If you’re an employee in the outer ring, how can you step forward and provide opinions and feedback for your leaders, so you can set yourself apart from the others?

If you’re in a leadership position, ask yourself: am I allowing those who are closest to the work to contribute and help elevate the business? What opportunities are there if I invite trickle up leadership to work for my company? 

Whether it’s helping shape your company to harness the outer ring or providing you the tools to break from that outer ring so you get noticed by company leadership, Kraukman Inc. can tailor the program that’s right for you and your company. 

Don’t let trickle down leadership create a bottleneck that stalls your company’s momentum.