Were You Earned or Assigned?
Business Development Representative with Tez Technology.
Leadership is a popular word thrown around. In fact, you may have heard it thrown around your employer a few times before. Although many people may use this word or refer to themselves as a leader, I find that very few know how to lead.
I’ve learned that most people were never taught how to lead. They most likely did not have a good leadership example to follow or learn from. Bad leadership can be a generational curse, from one bad leader to the next. Then, when an individual gets hired or promoted to fulfill a role that requires leadership, they do all the wrong things that hinder their ability to influence and lead others.
As John Maxwell said “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”
Were you Earned or Assigned?
Most individuals in a leadership role think it is all about them. Why is that? I believe they think it is all about them because many individuals in leadership roles were appointed, assigned, or awarded leadership. True leadership is earned. A common theme I see among leaders who did not earn their leadership is their ego. Ego is the enemy to great leadership.
You see, most leaders just don’t have “it.”
The easiest way to determine whether you do or do not have it is look at how many people follow your leadership. Now, before you go on and say, “I have 40 people in my organization who follow me, so yes, I do have it!” ask yourself whether these people in the organization following your leadership do it because of what you stand for or because they must. That is how you will determine the level of your leadership.
If I can describe a leader in one sentence, a leader is willing to meet their people where they are at and take them to a higher level. You cannot lead everyone the same way. People are different in their unique ways. They’ve experienced different walks of life, different emotions, different desires, and so on. When I adopted the belief that I must learn my people individually, build strong relationships with them, meet them where they are, and find out what makes them tick, I began to see a shift in the organization.
Unfortunately, many leaders look at their people as numbers, and not people. This will hinder their ability to effectively lead.
Anyone can become a great leader if they are willing to do the work and be intentional about their growth. Before you can become a great leader, you need to know, with clarity, who you are.
Then I believe you must be excited. Have an excitement for life, a passion to pour into people, and an attitude of gratitude that stretches for miles. So many leaders are dull and lack energy. When leaders are excited, it’s a natural magnet that attracts other excited people who want to follow them. A leader must genuinely be excited for their people to win. Championing them, not just for winning at work, but in life, marriage, at home with their kids, in their health, finances, and relationships. Leadership doesn’t just start and stop when the office door opens or closes.
Remember – if you aren’t excited and confident in who you are, people will not follow you. You can have a strong work ethic, be focused, and understand business, but people don’t follow logic, they follow heart.
Higher is Calling
Before I saw the shift in my organization, I committed to 3 areas:
1- Build a winning environment and protect it
2- Empower my team leaders
3- Lead others with questions
I understood my role as a leader is to be someone worth following. If I focused on everything being done perfectly, I would not accomplish the long-term goal. Instead, I focused on taking imperfect people and plugging them into a perfect system. Naturally, as I challenged my people, the right ones poked up their heads. Over the course of that year, I saw the loyalty deepen, attitudes improved, employee satisfaction improved, and so on.
There are so many ways a leader can be great. What worked for me may not work for you. One thing that is consistent across the board: people want to be part of a winning environment where they feel respected, heard, and valued. They want to follow a leader who is excited and leads with heart, not logic. Leadership can be learned, but you have to be willing to earn it. //
Shane Daugherty is Business Development Representative with Tez Technology.