Titles Can’t Lead
You’ve worked hard to earn your title and position of leadership. You’ve done more than required of you and now you have the opportunity to truly make a difference.
Maybe you’ve just lucked into the title. Maybe you were born into the position, or married into it. Maybe you’ve benefited from the Peter Principle and got the position because “they” tried you in other roles and you did okay.
Either way, whether you lucked into a position or you’ve really earned it, your title and position of leadership does not make you a leader.
Being a leader requires that you actually lead somebody.
If you manage people you’re likely a boss, not a leader.
If you lead people to act as you act and you can influence them to behave in a certain way you’re probably an effective leader. The challenge with being an effective leader is that despite some success you’re likely still not helping your people reach their full potential.
If you lead people to act as you act and you care as much about your followers as you care about yourself, and if you influence your people in a way that helps them become a leader and you celebrate their success as much as or more than your own then you’re almost certainly an Authentic Servant Leader.
When you help people accomplish more than they ever believed possible, because you believed in them even more than they believed in themselves, then you are a leader of leaders.
No one leads merely by sitting in a leader’s chair. If you’re really going to lead you have to do something.
You see, accepting an important sounding title or position does not make you a leader. It may however make it possible to force the compliance of your people. You may be able to “scare” them into doing what you want but fear is a very poor long-term motivator.
If you settle for the compliance of your people you will always have “personnel issues” to deal with. Your people will simply do the bare minimum required to maintain their job. They will always be restless and not in a constructive way. They will underperform and they will frustrate you. And it will all be because of you; you may have filled the office of the leader but you’ve left a leadership void.
A title or position does not make you a leader, nor does it lead for you. It merely gives you a bit of time to earn the opportunity to truly lead. The extent of your leadership will be determined by you and those who you would lead. If you can show that you care enough about your followers as people then they will allow you to lead them. Yes, I said allow.
If you think you can make people follow you then you had better think again. You may be able to make them comply but leading people requires their permission and commitment. If your people are not committed to you then they will not follow you. There is no way to force someone to commit to you. Their commitment must be earned.
Compliance causes people issues, commitment solves them.
People commit to a leader when they discover that the leader cares about them as people. When a leader proactively, intentionally and consistently shows that they care then their followers will know without a doubt that the leader has their best interests in mind.
When they know the leader has their best interests in mind they will go above and beyond to help the leader. You’ll never hear a committed follower say “that’s not in my job description.”
Leadership requires more than a title; it requires action on the part of the leader. If you are counting on your position or title to gain the commitment of your people then you are missing the leadership boat.
Take action to show you care. Invest yourself in the success of your people. Freely give your time and expertise to those you would lead. Make a difference for other people.
That is how Authentic Servant Leadership works!