Ask Fred > Career/Work > leadership: upward or downward?

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Dear Fred

what is the difference between "leading downward" vs. "leading upward?" What is your insight in how to lead your leader?

Fred's Response

Leading downward is normal leadership. It flows from the leader to the followers. Good leadership produces good results. You can go in any retail store or restaurant and immediately know whether the employees have good leadership above them. They will follow efficient disciplines and attitudes, recognizing that the customer is the vital element in any success. Leading the leader from a subordinate position is a very tricky matter. Few can really accomplish it. Unions try to do it by uniting employees against company leadership. When an individual wants to constructively influence the leader in the way that he feels change should be made it requires a close personal relationship with the leader which creates respect for the subordinate’s opinion. The leader must feel that the subordinate is wanting to help him rather than just creating convenience for the employee. I would suggest that you always have a specific plan for correcting anything that you criticize. That way it shows that you have done your homework and are presenting a reasonable solution for a problem.