You are the leader of your group or department because that position is delegated to you by the organization. You might be called a “formal” leader. But often others function as “informal leaders” for smaller groups. When you recognize these informal leaders, you can use their power and influence to enhance the results and productivity of the group.
Although informal leaders are not designated by the organization, they frequently wield extensive power and influence because of their ability to help other team members satisfy needs and reach goals. They are automatically sought out for advice and help when a colleague experiences a problem. They often are outstanding team members with common sense and loyalty to the company. They can contribute a great deal to your success when you delegate to them and help them develop their abilities even further.
Occasionally, however, informal leaders are troublemakers who seek followers to satisfy their own desire for power and glory. They may work against the goals of the organization. Still other informal leaders are competent and possess a great deal of undeveloped potential. Whether they become an asset or a liability to your department depends on your ability to help them find a constructive way to satisfy their needs for personal growth. Otherwise, they may become disgruntled troublemakers, or may move on to another job to cure a vague dissatisfaction with the work situation.