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The Hidden Leader

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The Hidden Leader

Discover and Develop Greatness Within Your Company


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Your most respected, effective leaders might work as frontline employees, not executives.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Many strong leaders work amid the ranks of your regular employees. Though such “hidden leaders” have little “positional power,” they prove that they are valuable assets to your company by producing exceptional work and harnessing their personal power to amplify the productivity of everyone around them. Consultants Scott K. Edinger and Laurie Sain explain how to identify your hidden leaders and extend their positive influence throughout your organization. The authors offer an added bonus: Their appendix provides many resources that managers can use to identify, assess and promote the leaders hidden in their organizations. getAbstract recommends their advice to companies seeking to leverage the potential of every employee.


Going Beyond

A sales coach was at the airport on her way to a weekend vacation. While walking to the gate, she stopped to listen to a salesperson and a trainee pitching a credit card for the airline she was flying. The coach was writing a professional article about how sales reps teach each other, so she avidly watched the salesperson work with the trainee. Lost in careful observation, she forgot the time and missed her flight.

The coach told her story to an airline representative, and added she wanted to reach her destination by evening because she had theater tickets. Although under no obligation, the rep quickly booked the coach on a timely, upcoming flight at a nearby airport at no charge. Another rep arranged to have the coach’s suitcase – already checked on the flight she had missed – delivered free to her hotel. Although they didn’t have to, both customer-service representatives took immediate ownership of the sales coach’s predicament. They turned professional dedication and a missed flight into an unforgettably positive experience.

Both reps acted independently of their supervisors. They didn’t ask permission to make decisions; they just made them. In...

About the Authors

Scott K. Edinger, who founded Edinger Consulting Group, blogs for Harvard Business Review. Writer and consultant Laurie Sain is the former content director for Ninth House Network.

Comment on this summary

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    F. A. 6 years ago
    Accountability should be one of your value to be a Hidden Leader.
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    R. G. 7 years ago
    One recent example of hidden leader surfacing is current CEO of Google Sundar Pichai ..
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    P. D. 8 years ago
    These hidden leaders serve as the performance competency models and inspiration for others inside and outside of the company.

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