You can be promoted to a management position and that makes you a manager. It doesn’t necessarily make you a good manager but it does make you a manager. It does not, it absolutely does not, make you a leader.
You can be promoted to a leadership position as well but that absolutely DOES NOT make you a leader. Not even a bad leader, no promotion, no matter how high up in an organization, makes you a leader.
Followers make you a leader. Turn around sometimes and see if anyone is following you. If they are not then you might be going somewhere but you’re not leading.
Two of the biggest leadership mistakes that an organization or person can make is believing that management and leadership positions are automatically one and the same and thinking that having a leadership position makes you a leader.
As I’ve written a thousand times, you manage stuff and you lead people. The skill sets and more importantly, the mindsets, are very different. Yes, one person can possess both but that is far rarer than many people think.
You do not need a title or position to lead. Leadership is far more about disposition than it is position.
Leading requires that you make a decision to influence others to your way of thinking and doing.
Authentic Leadership requires that you make a decision to influence others to your way of thinking and doing and to do so in as a transparent and consistent method as possible.
Authentic Servant Leadership requires that you make a decision to influence others to the best way of thinking and doing and to do so in as a transparent and consistent method as possible. It also requires that you truly care about the people you lead and that your actions frequently put your people ahead of yourself.
You might not be sure if you’re talking to a leader or if the leader you’re talking to is an Authentic Leader but you will most certainly know when your interacting with an Authentic Servant Leader, their caring nature and concern for your well-being is almost constantly on display.
If you’ve earned a leadership position then congratulations. Your first task should be to also earn the right to truly lead. The next handful of posts will discuss what skills and characteristics you’ll need to earn that right.
Step one to earning the right to lead is realizing that your position or title merely gives you a head start. It’s your actions and how people respond to them that will determine if you’re actually a leader.