I am in the middle of debriefing a batch of 360 assessments for a client and in several cases the person has gotten a low score on "Coaching and Mentoring" and "Inspirational Leadership" from their manager. Because these employees have all been individual contributors, their response has been the same,
"I don't manage anybody. It's really not my job to coach and mentor or lead."
When we dissect what goes into coaching and inspiring, it includes giving feedback, providing helpful guidance, answering questions patiently, sharing knowledge, positive influence, and demonstrating enthusiasm and energy that is contagious. All of these things can be done with peers, colleagues, clients, and vendors. These are not skills only reserved for those in "management."
It reminded me of a comment made by a client I had lunch with this week who is the owner of a firm that offers stock to it's employees. He said, "A lot of people ask me how to become a shareholder. I tell them, 'Act like a shareholder.'"
If you want to be an owner, act like an owner. If you want to be a leader, act like a leader. What are you waiting for?