Thoughts 4 Friday – So You Think You Want To Lead?

Thoughts 4 Friday – So You Think You Want To Lead?

Nov 18, 2011

Everybody wants to be a leader, or so they say. There is a misnomer when it comes to what leadership is that people think that being in a position of power makes you a leader. While position can give you power, it does not create real influence. Only you, through your words and much more importantly your actions, can you truly become a leader.
 
So you think you want to lead? First ask yourself these four questions.

  1. As a leader, do my followers work for me, or do I work for them?
  2.  

  3. As a leader, do I seek to enrich the lives of others or myself first?
  4.  

  5. As a leader, do I aspire to be liked or respected?
  6.  

  7. As a leader, Am I willing to give credit to others for success, and accept the blame for when we fail?

What are your answers? Here are mine…

  1. As a leader I work for my followers. To guide, to inspire, to motivate. It isn’t about me, it is about them. (Servant Leadership)
  2.  

  3. As a leader, I become enriched through enriching the lives of others. If my priorities are first then what I am doing is not leadership.
  4.  

  5. As a leader I know I cannot be liked by all. Seeking to be liked should not be the goal. It may happen from time to time, however I seek to be respected as an honest, fair, and empathetic leader that motivates and drives the highest level of performance from my team.
  6.  

  7. As a leader I am willing to fall on my sword. I am willing to defer credit, and take blame to yield greater outcomes.

Leadership is brilliant, but it is hard, and often misunderstood. It must be done for the right reasons, or it really isn’t leading at all…

So you think you want to lead? Why?

17 comments
Charlotte74
Charlotte74

I think you are spot on about leadership but, and it's a big but, many many people get it so very wrong.

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loiscreamer
loiscreamer

Challenging thoughts on real world leadership Daniel! Thanks!

rayhiltz
rayhiltz

When I was just starting out in management, it was all about being liked. Decisions that I made, though made on behalf of the company, always was qualified by the question: Will this piss people off?

It took me awhile to understand that always wanting to be liked can be very repressive for both your maturity and your happiness and not always so good for the company.

My focus moved from "managing" to leading; from being "boss" to being a coach. Being liked isn't important, being respected isn't a given. You have to earn that. Your validation comes from leading from a strong vison and a strong commitment to your team.

DaveGallant
DaveGallant

Love this post. One of the key qualities of a leader is to be able to allow others to take the lead in different situations.

Another area I think many of us forget, is that in any good leadership role there are actually two leaders. The leader who initiates, and the leader of followers. If you don't mind Daniel, I'd like to share this post with all of you -> http://davegallant.blogspot.com/2011/06/will-your-voice-start-movement.html

Great post. I enjoy your content.

phillipdodd
phillipdodd

Great thought-provoking post! I would like to comment including my own answers to these questions, but I would need some time to think about them! Maybe I'll return when I've come up with them ;)

alankay1
alankay1

Nice one. I think you can use your four points in the following context I urge my clients to (sometimes) be enlightened despotic leaders, i.e., there are times when things are complicated and someone has to step forward. I urge them not to do it all the time. I also say, organizations are full of people keen to be told what to do - that how you tell them matters.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

The hardest lesson I've had, as I've grown into a leadership position, is that not everyone will like me nor will all of my decisions be popular. I'm VERY open about our vision and we make all of our decisions based on whether or not it gets us to the vision. There may be things that come along, that everyone wants to do, but if it doesn't further the vision, I shoot it down. By leading that way, we don't always have consensus, but we always have collaboration.

BruceSallan
BruceSallan

Being a good leader means risking NOT being liked (by all)...that risk and that willingness is essential to ALL great leaders. Also, you must be a team player. I always did individual sports 'cause I prefer to be only accountable to myself...but, I've learned how to be a team player, too. Those rewards are deeper!

danielnewmanUV
danielnewmanUV moderator

@rayhiltz I love your last paragraph - I couldn't agree with you more! Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to future conversation.

danielnewmanUV
danielnewmanUV moderator

@alankay1 I like that - let them sink a little bit, just not drown! That teaches independence and empowers people over time!

danielnewmanUV
danielnewmanUV moderator

@ginidietrich Great points Gini - I think the more you share and communicate the vision the more popular you will become because those that are in opposition to you will exit over time. Ideally as you lead your team to better individual performance across the board, you will see more consensus, but collaboration is definitely more important. Cheers!

danielnewmanUV
danielnewmanUV moderator

@BruceSallan As always Bruce - nice point and thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate how you add to the conversation!

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