Many factors get associated with leadership, poorly I believe. Here are some things that are NOT what leadership is about:
- Leadership is not about giving orders
- Leadership is not about having employees
- Leadership is not about taking away privileges
- Leadership is not about having a corporate position
- Leadership is not about treating people like subservient objects
If you think any of these things about leadership, it may be because you have seen bad leadership. There are many examples of bad leadership out there, so I am not surprised. The good news is that bad leaders can grow into positive leaders if a mentor gives them feedback and appreciation.
Remember when you started a new job, and you weren’t trained well for it? You probably did not do the job too well, and until somebody showed you, you didn’t improve (unless you are just a “natural” at doing that work.) Leadership is like that too. People are asked to do leadership type of assignments, and they aren’t automatically good at it until they grow into the role.
When that happens, we have an excuse to say “I worked with a leader here. He sucked. I don’t want to be like that!”
What leadership is all about is being effective. That usually means appreciating people. If there is a crisis happening in real time, it means making some hard decisions, fast. Leadership is also about being intensely focused on achieving goals, and finding ways to get there.
Effectiveness is one of the best ways to assess leaders. To be effective, leaders get results through other people- leadership is not a solo activity.
Leaders are effective partly (largely?) because of how they work with people. Leaders use influence and the power of a big vision. The day when command authority would be enough? That day is long over.
Choose to be an effective leader. You can add to your effectiveness by continuing to learn, work with a mentor, and finding new ways to reach your goals. You might also be surprised that helping other people achieve their goals helps one to become more successful. Leadership is an art that includes the active involvement of other persons.
Steve Broe is an executive coach and author. He lives in Scottsdale Arizona. He answers the question, “How does leadership help people become successful?” in his new book, Leading the Way Up Mt. Olympus, now available on Amazon.