Bottom-up Leadership in Financial Literacy


Bottom–up Leadership in Financial Literacy

After writing my first post, a question came-up in a discussion I was having about the approach to using Bottom-up Leadership to make positive changes in the area of financial literacy.   So in this post I’m going to attempt to bring some clarity and demonstrate how it can work in bringing about innovative changes on our journey.

Twenty Four years of military service has taught me if nothing else leadership, leadership from all directions.  The one I found most valuable was Bottom-up Leadership.  Just imagine, in any given situation who knows more about what the current needs are than the people on the front lines. In the area of the need for financial literacy the front line is the parents, teachers, mentors,churches, employers, community leaders and on up to the senior government.  Most young adults are just beginning to understand that need.

Bottom-up Leadership is as simple as any individual convincing management to adopt new and innovative ideas for a service or product they may provide.  It is the front-line leadership that brings about the innovation needed for business success.  Those leaders in business who fail to ask their front-line employees for input and take that input seriously on how things are going, and are there anything that we can do differently to make improvements for the benefit of the customer, the employees, and the businesses  miss the mark for innovation.

Bottom-up Leadership is challenging the status quo to bring about changes in attitudes of others around them and their senior leadership.  It has nothing to do with taking charge and directing.  It’s more leading by example while promoting a new direction.  Bottom-up leadership is all inclusive leadership where everyone’s voice is important. It’s most effective in a environment when people have the courage to promote new ideas to the management.

Bottom-up Leaders have passion for what they do and feel whatever they have to say is important.  You are a bottom-up leader when you have a one-off impact for example, when you persuade your children to learn financial literacy, and then you stop with the persuasion when you see their understanding and practicing sound personal money management.

I hope this provided some clarity on what was meant when I referenced bottom-up leadership in my last post.  Everyone’s voice is important for this journey we are going to take. So please comment below and/or send an email with your thoughts or input.

In June I intend to hold a forum with a group of teens to gather their input on what they think their needs are in terms of financial literacy.

Bottom-up Leadership

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