I’ve met a lot of “leaders” in my lifetime and a few of them actually led.
If you’re confused by that sentence let me explain. Lots and lots of people hold positions in their organizations that would indicate they are leaders. Many of them have some fancy title that would seem to confirm it.
Too bad for them that neither a position or title can make them a leader. Even having followers doesn’t actually make someone a leader, at least not an Authentic Leader. People can be coerced into “pretending” to follow. The truth is they are merely complying with orders and directives so they can keep their paychecks coming.
Authentic Leaders don’t need compliance and they rarely give “orders.” They work to earn the commitment of their people so their people willingly follow them. Enthusiastically follow them.
The followers of an Authentic Leader follow them because of what the leader has done for them. They follow because the leader makes a positive difference in the lives of the people they lead.
I’d go so far as to say if you haven’t made a positive difference in the lives of people you think you are leading then you may be their boss but you are not their leader. If you’re not consistently showing the people you lead that you care about them as human beings then you may be their manager but you are not their leader.
If your words do not match your actions then they cannot trust you. If they cannot trust you then they may comply with your demands but they will never be committed to following you.
If your people believe that you’re using them to advance your own career then you’ll be unable to earn that commitment no matter how high your position or fancy your title.
So let me ask you this. Can you specifically say how you’ve made a positive difference in the life of someone you’ve led? Can you say how you demonstrate, on a regular basis that your people matter to you and your organization? Can you say when, exactly, was the last time you told them that they matter as an individual?
If you can’t answer those questions and do so relatively quickly then you have some work to do. You’ll need to invest some time to improve your leadership skills. You likely have to change your thinking as well. Some of all you may even have to develop a heart for leadership.
The great news is that all that’s possible. To begin all you need to do is make a decision that you will LeadToday!