There is a misconception that leadership is about being strong, brash and indomitable. It is confidence, and above all, right of access anything they want.
Right out of college, I worked for a very difficult boss. I couldn’t wait for my workday to end. He would have fits of anger and spurts of cynicism.
My heart would skip a beat every time he would walk into my office. Being around him was like walking on eggshells. It was miserable! This is the season I wrote more job applications than I can remember.
But working with him was an invaluable experience for me. It taught me a lot about leadership. Here are the four key lessons from this experience.
1. Power to title!
There is this big misunderstanding that leadership is a position. That your position on the organisation’s chart is directly proportional to your ability to lead. Or it is about the size and location of your office. We work our rear-end off for fewer letters on your business card. Is that all there is?
Everyday leaders gain support through respect and relationship building. They don’t hold position as authority. When position is confused with leadership, the likelihood of rebellion increases.
2. Authority is mine
Control, coercion, and manipulation aren’t found in a leader’s arsenal. Leadership isn’t about consolidating authority to yourself.
My good friend Liz Stincelli puts it so well when she says: “Power and influence is no longer held only by those in a position of authority, it is shared throughout the organization by employees at every level.”
Leadership isn’t about authority. It is built on humility, clarity and courage. And courage is to bestow authority to those you lead.
3. Talent ahead
There is a school of thought that leaders are born and not made. I don’t believe this is entirely true. Why? Because to lead is a choice. You may be born into a family of leaders, but does that make you a leader?
Warren Bennis says that “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
And why is this? It is because leadership is a mindset first! People evolve into leaders.
Sometimes, there is a confusion between leadership and skills. It sure helps when a leader is skilful. However, being skilled doesn’t automatically make a leader.
There are those that go around thinking, “Without me, nothing can go right.” That is far from the truth! Authentic leadership is understanding the power of delegation.
Leaders that last are those that inspire and are authentic in their action. As Lau Tzu noted, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
Everything rises and falls on Leadership.” John C. Maxwell
Invest more in being rather than just doing. To be works towards building a legacy. You are present in body, spirit and mind. Doing on the other hand, intrenches you in the rat race. It focuses on activities. You can easily miss out on your vision and goals.
Leadership is about capturing the moments, not just waiting for events.
Q: Which one word describes leadership to you and why? Have your say by clicking here.
photo: Dark Rider