By Diamond Richardson
Every organization needs leaders and leadership is not limited to executives and managers. Leaders are people who take it upon themselves to get a project moving that has fallen off the radar. Leaders are people who take extra time to hear customer concerns and develop appropriate solutions. Leaders are people who propel your company forward.
If you constantly call yourself a leader, you are probably not a very good one. It is perfectly acceptable to identify yourself as a CEO, manager or director. But those titles do not automatically make you a leader. Your actions are what make you a leader, and people who are truly great leaders rarely use the word to identify themselves for a few reasons:
1) Leaders are too busy doing to focus on what they are called: People tend to think that leaders always lead from the top. However, most of the people at the top got there by leading from within. Their incredible work ethic and performance is what got them to the “leadership” positions they are in today. The worst goal you can set for yourself in a career is to “become a leader.” Not only is it too vague, it also does not spark immediate action. People in management positions got there by doing. And if you are busy trying to move your team from one point to another, you won’t have time to worry about if people are calling you a leader.
2) Leaders want to be a part of the team, not separated from it: A good manager or executive is in tune with what is going on at all levels of the organization. They are not sitting off in their corner offices basking in their impressive titles. They are passionate about their company’s mission so they make sure to touch base with the people who are directly influencing the product or service they offer, as well as the people who have the most contact with customers. If you let the word “leader” go to your head, it is hard to stay this involved.
3) Leadership is granted, not taken: Leaders rarely call themselves leaders because they did not decide to become leaders. A group of people typically gave them that honor due to the way they conducted themselves. If you want to lead people, you have to influence them. If you want to influence them, chances are you did not set out to be a leader. You simply set out to influence people to achieve a goal. Employees like to follow someone who they can tell is working hard for a genuine purpose, not just to be called a leader.
What do you think about people calling themselves leaders?