Leaders have never been more challenged and tested than what we are seeing today. Keeping your team focused, motivated, engaged, and productive when in many situations employees are doing the job of two or three people can be a daunting task. In many cases, pay increases and corporate incentives have dwindled and in some organizations promotions and opportunities for advancement are rare. So how do leaders survive all this and meet these challenges let alone stay motivated themselves?


Get out of the box and become a 3 Dimensional Leader. The 3D Leader is one who is well connected and is in touch with the organization. This person learns to Lead those Above, Below and Across the organization.

Leading Above: To get ahead you have to look ahead. Leading above means;

1) To understand the pressures, challenges, and objectives of your boss and their boss or CEO. Understand their world and how you can make it better.

2) Leading above is about positioning your professional “value” and talents to show how you will help your boss and his/her boss meet their greatest challenges and objectives. Too many middle managers become inner focused. For example; “Look what I did” or “What about my team?”.

3) Instead of coming to your boss with problems or challenges, come with well thought out solutions. Make the time you spend with them valuable by coming fully prepared.

Leading Below: You will get more out of people when you start thinking more of your people. Just because you are a leader in your organization does not mean that your people will automatically want to follow you. They may, but this could be short lived if we don’t consider a few things.

1) Lead people to their full potential – not just what you see in them today. See them as something bigger than their immediate “job function”. In a strange way help them build their resume of accomplishments. That’s what they care about.

2) If attitudes, motivation or frustration get in the way of progress then “loan” your faith to them. Tell them, “If you have lost some faith then take mine because I believe in you.”

3) Get out of the office and into their world more than ever before – Show people that you understand how times have changed. Show people that you care by asking questions to know how they are really doing (outside of work issues). This builds trust. We are managing “people” not machines.

Leading Across: Some may believe it’s not possible to really lead across an organization. How could you lead your peers? A 3 dimensional leader is one who learns how to influence through example and by demonstrated accomplishments. This is not a leader who is dead set on competing with his/her peers. Many leaders are faced with inadequate resources to do the job. A requirement for today’s leader is to be able to build bridges, not walls with your peers.  Leading across can be accomplished with a few good strategies.

1) Seek the opinion or advice of your peers – This builds relationships and makes people feel important.

2) Learn from others, use their ideas and especially acknowledge the idea as being theirs.

3) Leave the Ego At The Door – It will be obvious if you try too hard to impress your peers. Instead make an impression by allowing them to impress you. Treat your peers as if they are the most important people with the most important information that you can learn from and you will be on your way to being an effective 3 Dimensional Leader.

For more information you can find this 3 Dimensional Leadership approach in the GCT Leadership Development series.