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So You’re Not The Boss? Here’s How You Can Still Be A Leader.


So You’re Not The Boss? Here’s How You Can Still Be A Leader.

Are leaders born or are they developed? It’s a subject that’s long been debated.

And in the workplace, can an employee who holds no supervisory job title be an effective leader — before being entrusted with managing people? 

Grant Parr, a mental sports performance coach, says yes — and adds that it’s almost mandatory if someone hopes to be ready as a leader when promoted to a bigger role in an organization.

“Leadership is a choice,” says Parr (, author of The Next One Up Mindset: How To Prepare For The Unknown. “It’s not a title, position, or rank. You don’t have to be a department head, manager or CEO to be a leader.”

“Leadership is a group of characteristics, and you can acquire them even if you’re not the boss. You’ll never be a leader when you assume that prime time role unless you have developed the qualities of leadership as part of your preparation for the next big step.”

Parr offers five ways to become a leader at a company without holding a leadership-type position:

Listen to others’ ideas. “Leadership is about others, not about the self, and it starts with listening,” Parr says. “Being a leader isn’t putting yourself above others, interrupting them, or acting like your ideas are more important than anyone else’s. True leadership brings out the best in others and your culture, and you do that by making them feel valued and giving them a voice.”

Be accountable for mistakes. “Own your errors,” Parr says. “It sets an example of accountability that is good for the culture. Too many people, when told of a mistake, assign blame and make excuses. A leader corrects constructively and surveys for solutions. As a subordinate, staying positive and offering ways to fix your mistake, and showing the humility of asking for help, is a path toward being a leader people can trust.”

Learn flexibility. “This applies in so many ways,” Parr says. “If you’re stuck on doing something one certain way, you’re headed toward being a micromanager who few would like and fewer would want to work under. Leadership is about tapping into your broad base of workplace talent, expanding knowledge, improving systems and raising the ceiling.”

Interact and network. Networking isn’t only about finding jobs, it’s about connecting with people in a way that enhances important relationships and the work environment. “As you learn to interact with different types in the workplace,” Parr says, “you’ll learn which relationships are most effective, how to help those people with their career, and show your ability to direct and lead.” 

Develop a thick skin. To become a leader, Parr says it’s vital to rise above annoyances and petty slights from others and let them roll off your back. “HR isn’t the principal’s office,” he says, “and if you vent every time about someone doing something irritating, you’ll get the reputation of being a whiner. Don’t complain behind closed doors, gossip, or criticize people behind their backs. No one who does those things can be viewed as a leader.”

“People want to be led,” Parr says. “But they don’t want to be bossed around. Great leaders can learn this as underlings on their way to a management position. Then when they get there, they’re ahead of the game — and everyone’s in step with them.”

Grant Parr ( is a mental sports performance coach and the author of The Next One Up Mindset: How To Prepare For The Unknown. Parr owns and runs GAMEFACE PERFORMANCE, a consulting firm that enhances mental skills for athletes and coaches. A recruiter and sales leader in the corporate world for 17 years, he now works with a wide variety of athletes including Olympians, professionals, collegians and high school athletes. His podcast, 90% Mental, provides a window into a broad range of athletes’ and coaches’ mental games and shares their insights around mental performance.

Warehousing 2019: How to Optimize Operations

In 2019, warehousing companies might want to consider the use of unmanned aerial vehicles as an option for delivery. The top two of key differentiators companies consider drivers for change in warehouse usage include the need for lowered transportation costs (at 42.7 percent) while others cited the need for shortened delivery times and (40.5 percent), according to a Zebra Technology survey.

Looking ahead at the changes to come in 2020, Zebra also shows that in 2015, only 55.1 percent of companies were leveraging load optimization and performance monitoring and anticipating its integration by 2020. This number will jump to 61.6 percent, according to the global survey results. The report goes on to explain that explicit costs and benefits should not be the total focus and only make up a part of the bigger picture.

It states that, “Not only do we need to improve the technological advancement of our warehouse, but we need to update our thought process also. When considering RoI on implementing technology, don’t only look at the investment as cost and recovery of cost, but think of how this creates value for your customers, how you improve the productivity of your employees, what impact does it have on your culture and public image, will embracing technology give an advantage over competitors, and so on.”

Zebra’s survey also revealed some interesting insight into the level of difficulty experienced by companies seeking to change the supply-chain process. A total of 32.2 percent noted that it is “somewhat difficult” to introduce changes in 2015. That number is predicted to drop down to 22.1 percent in 2020.

Refreshing your operational approach to warehousing operations should be handled with caution and care. Don’t rush trying to integrate a new technology solution without checking the other boxes first. UPS cautions this practice for next steps and transforming your current business model.

“Most operations were designed based on what worked in the past, and, of course, that can’t necessarily deliver what customers expect today,” says Simon Bhadra, senior manager for the UPS Industrial Distribution customer segment. “There are valid business reasons that customers demand changes from their intermediaries or are bypassing them altogether. Pressure to cut costs, reduce turn times, for example. It’s difficult to make meaningful changes and still be productive and keep customers happy. People say it’s like trying to build an airplane while it’s in the air, and that’s pretty accurate.”

Dubai Customs Boasts Exemplary Customs Strategies

Many might recall the June 2018 Air Cargo Advance Screening Program mandating foreign shipments to be subject to providing a laundry list of pre-arrival cargo data when the U.S. is the final destination, per measures from the Department of Homeland Security. Strict screenings such as these have been implemented globally, as recently reported for Dubai Customs, which prides itself on significant progress in performance due to the advanced infrastructure as well as supportive government policies assisting in facilitating global trade efforts. The success is also paired with a proactive approach involving careful evaluation and research of trade trends.
Director of Dubai Customs, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, explains: “We have an integrated strategy in place to develop the external trade performance further following the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, and along with the guidelines of Dubai Plan 2021 and the UAE Centennial 2071. We are watching closely the changes taking place in the international trade and we will turn challenges into opportunities by entering new markets and expanding our existing ones.”
More recently, however, Dubai Customs reported several cases where significant smuggling attempts were stopped because of the diligence and seamless communication strategies in place. One report identified 922 successfully prevented smuggling attempts, of which 38.5 percent were drug contrabands. Even more interesting is the time frame the attempts occurred: between January and September of 2018.
“Thanks to our inspectors’ vigilance, we are closely in full control of all checkpoints,” explains Ibrahim Al Kamali, Dubai Customs’ director of Passenger Operations. “Our inspection officers receive the best training on body language and different types of drugs, and how to distinguish fake brands from genuine ones.”
“There are challenges facing customs authorities in countries that have strategic locations,” Musabih points out. “Dubai is not an exception. It’s strategically located between East and West, and it has spent billions of dirhams to develop its infrastructure, ports and airports.”
“The Emirate has also provided an unprecedented host of services and products, including the iDeclare application which significantly reduces passengers’ time needed to declare different belongings. These advanced services will facilitate passengers’ entry into the country.”
From security and trust to reliability and competition, sourcing the best carrier and airport connection needs to align with customer needs, the types of products being transported, and compliance efforts for the region. Just because an airline is associated with a big brand does not guarantee a seamless transport of goods.
Conduct necessary research and review updated reports to learn and identify an airline’s strengths and areas of improvement. No two carriers are the same, and the options available depend on the amount of knowledge you have going in and what fits your long-term and short-term needs. Consider the partnerships involved with the airline of your choice and how these partnerships create competitive advantage. If you can’t identify what makes a carrier or airline significant, it might be time to reconsider market options.

Overcoming Operational Challenges

In the age of Amazon-inspired standards and expectations, everything moves faster while changing just as quickly. In an evergreen market, the main key to success stems from proactive, digital solutions that are equipped with the ability to keep up in an ever-changing industry.

So what is really needed to make it work and go above set expectations within your organization and standards of operations? Below are three high-level tips to consider as we approach cyber-Monday and one of the busiest times of the year for e-commerce.

1. Be selective and remain modular.

It can be tempting to research and invest thousands into a solution that crosses multiple platforms while offering various strategy solutions. Although this is great, it produces higher risks and takes away from the actual needs of the company. Focus on what can be improved based on the company’s needs first, then look into broader solution options. Be cautious of investing in a solution that is new but irrelevant to operational needs. Prioritize your business goals to align with efficiencies on a multi-platform solution and approach. Remember what the customer needs and what is realistic in terms of delivering within operations.

2. Address internal and operational issues.

Everyone talks about transparency with customers for success, but you must first take an honest assessment at what is and isn’t working, internal/external challenges, pain points and inefficiencies before you can deliver the best to customers. You can’t produce quality results externally without fixing an area that needs improvement first. After a thorough evaluation is done, you can wisely select solutions and changes needed for success. Remember the example of the domino-effect business model, each part of the business is impacted by the other.

3. Choose fully-integrated solutions.

The implementation of digital solutions is at its peak. But what if a solution leaves out one area or another? For example, a digitized delivery system tracking ETA but can’t provide temperature control or visibility. Project44 said it best, “The holy grail is a truly integrated supply chain which connects all your modes and nodes including ocean carriage, drayage, deconsolidation, inland transportation, and final mile.”  When vetting solutions, remember each operational sector and choose the one that fits all.


Source: Project44