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Video: Leading From the Middle

Image by Caitlin Fairchild

Jackson Nickerson saw a problem. "Most people engaged in leadership are leading from the middle of the organization," he said. "Most approaches to leadership assume you're at the top." 

In response, Nickerson, Associate Dean and Director of the Brookings Executive Education, developed a new philosophy of leadership he calls "Leading at the Crossroads of Change." 

"You have to find ways to lead up, to lead down in terms of engaging who are your customers--internal customers or citizens--and also engage those who compliment what you're doing or who could block it," said Nickerson. "We as human beings have the tendency to jump to a solution...instead of asking for buy in, if you 'be in,' that is ['be in'] the process, it turns out you end up solving the right problem the first time and implementing the solution well." 

Nickerson spoke to us at Excellence in Government Live on Sept. 6. You hear more about his views on leading from the middle in the video below: 

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Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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