You do not need a fancy job title to be a leader. Leadership comes from within just as change comes from within. Anyone can be a leader, there’s a great book on this called The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma that I highly recommend that showcases just how you can do this.
The most common leadership traits are: empathy, honesty, consistency, communication, flexibility, drive and passion.
A degree, job title or MBA won’t give you these traits. These traits are developed over time through experience, personal growth and development and learning from our own failures.
When a leader acts like he or she is perfect and tells everyone else they need to improve is a sure sign that they as a leader themselves are not great. Worse yet, this behaviour can be copied at every level of management (remember as children how we copied our parents and mimicked their behaviour?) Well the same happens in the workplace – employees observe and mimic their leaders behaviour. Every level then spills over to the level below it, the end result being that no one improves and therefore neither does the organisation as a whole.
While most organisations offer training and development to their employees, ultimately we are responsible for our own growth and development both on and outside of our jobs.
So are you in control of your own destiny or aimlessly floating along waiting for life to happen to you?
Alan Sullivan depicts this beautifully in his chart below:
Here are some questions courtesy of Marshall Goldsmith you can ask yourself when it comes to understanding your professional mojo. In other words, what makes you feel alive and thriving as a leader and how can you instill this in your employees?
For every situation ask yourself, ‘What do I as the Leader bring to this activity?
- Motivation – How engaged do I feel about the activity?
- Knowledge – Do I understand what to do?
Ability – Do I have the skills to do the task well?
- Confidence – How sure am I of myself?
- Authenticity – Is my enthusiasm genuine?
- Collaborative Practice – How can I work with and learn from others here?
- Business Transformation – How will this help transform the business to where it wants to go?
- Life Facilitation – How can I benefit and grow from this experience?
Keep these questions at the forefront of everything you do and get your team to think about them too as part of their own development.
All good leaders not only want to grow themselves but also want their people to grow and develop. If we work hard to improve ourselves, who knows we might even encourage the people around us to do the same thing!
Paula Quinsee: Relationship Expert, TEDx speaker and author of Embracing Conflict – a self-help guide filled with practical tools and insights. She works with individuals and organisations to develop better human interactions and relationship building in both their personal and professional worlds.