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What Authentic Leaders Know

September 5, 2013

There are many ways to fail as a leader but only one way to succeed.

John Maxwell said it best when he said that you can care for people without leading them but you cannot lead people without caring for them. 

Way too many wanna be leaders aspire to a position that will “force” or require people to follow them. They fail to realize that no one follows a position. People follow people, not positions or titles. They also fail to understand that no one can be forced to follow, they can only be forced to comply. 

When your people merely comply their growth is limited. When you as a leader limit the growth of your people you also limit your growth and the growth of your organization as well.

Authentic leaders aspire to be the type of person that people will want to follow. They have learned that people follow leaders who genuinely care about them. I use the word “genuinely” because you can only pretend to care for a relatively short period of time. Sooner or later your supposed followers will see you for the fraud that you are.

If you expect people to follow you then you should expect to do the things required of a leader.  You must care about your people.

If you do not possess the human capacity to care for another individual you do not possess the capacity to lead. All authentic leaders know that if you cannot care about others you will not succeed, long term, as a leader. 

The good news is that you can learn to care. You can learn to invest time with your people instead of spending time on them. 

Invest your time learning about them as people. You’re not likely to care about an employee number but you just might care when you see them as a person, just like other people you care about. 

Slow down, learn about the motivations, the goals, the aspirations, and even the challenges of your people. They are real! They matter, your success depends on them. 

It’s tough to care about people you don’t know about and it’s impossible to lead people you don’t care about. If you think you can you’re even misleading yourself.

From → Leadership

9 Comments
  1. cynthiacharbor permalink

    Well said. Loved the message.

  2. Don’t mislead yourself !

  3. So true! Thank you for sharing. You are absolutely right that a leader should care for others and be genuine about it:)
    Thanks

  4. Being authentic means being vulnerable. Showing the good, the not so good, and the not so not so good.

    Most wanna be leaders aren’t willing to go there. They feel by exposing their weak side, it will make them less of a leader.

    If they only knew, showing their entire being is human. People will run through a brick wall for a human. Someone who is truly authentic.

    The majority of leaders walk around trying to be perfect. This trickles down to the team who also try to be perfect.

    In the end, the team does the minimum. They only do what’s required. Fearful if they miss even the smallest step, they’ll be looked down upon as a failure.

    • Indeed, I have a friend who works for a company with a poor leader. The employees have started an initiative called “do your job.” It sounds good except it really means “do ONLY your job” nothing more, never more than you’re told to do.

      The leader has no clue, he thinks it’s great. What he’ll soon discover is that when no one in his medium size company does more than required he will quickly have massive trouble.

      If it wasn’t so sad it would almost be funny.

      • Steve Borek permalink

        I keep asking myself, why is it so hard to be even an average leader? Mind boggling.

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