Isn’t that an interesting title? With a title like that if I write this post just right I should be able to make pretty much everyone who reads it mad. Even if that’s not my intention.
On the surface the title is a ridiculous question. Though it’s much debated in the media there can be no doubt about it; President Obama is a leader. For my conservative friends let me repeat; President Obama is a leader.
I don’t think I’ve ever done a leadership presentation where I haven’t early on stated that the essence of leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. The Presidency of The United States is a position of influence. If by nothing but position alone President Obama is a leader. He has perhaps more influence than any other living individual in the world. Therefore, he is a leader.
Now, before my conservative friends go completely off the deep end let me ask a more relevant question. Does President Obama Lead?
Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t. At critical times during his presidency he has been present but his leadership has not. It’s just kind of disappeared.
Now that I have my liberal friends upset too let me get to the point of this post. It is not about President Obama. It is about you!
Many people reading this post consider themselves to be a leader. They have titles and hold positions in companies and organizations which provide them with a great deal of influence. That, just like President Obama makes them a leader. But it doesn’t mean they truly lead. It doesn’t mean they are an Authentic Leader.
Sometimes, when a leader is most needed their leadership disappears. That happens to a lot of leaders, not just Presidents.
Does it happen to you? Do you make the all too common mistake of thinking your title or position will lead for you? Do you believe your influence will persuade and motivate people all by itself?
Leadership is not complicated but it also isn’t passive. Leadership is an activity, it must be done to be effective. Leadership is bold, it makes waves, it confronts, it takes risks. Leadership must be visible at all times. It doesn’t always have to be out front but whether it’s elbowing it’s way around the middle of the pack, pushing from the rear, or pulling from the front, it’s presence must be seen, felt, and heard. Always.
Leadership doesn’t just happen, a leader, at least an authentic leader, makes it happen.
Before you criticize President Obama or any other leader ask yourself what you did last week to DEMONSTRATE your leadership. What ACTIONS will you take this week to DEMONSTRATE that you’re not a leader is name only?
Allowing your title or position to speak on behalf of your leadership is a lazy way to lead. SHOW you’re a leader through you actions and people will follow.
After all, everybody knows that actions speak louder than words.