Leadership must be earned through hard work which lead to results and is not simply bestowed on a person. Leaders must have taken the time to earn their title in order to foster respect and camaraderie with those they will be leading. A position of leadership that is bestowed will be looked at with skepticism by those that must follow this unknown leader. This is a situation where a leader must act quickly and decisively in order to gain the respect of those they are leading. Teams look to leaders to provide guidance and friendship so a genuine interest is essential for those looking to lead. Two esteemed individuals in the leadership realm shed some more insight on leadership as Dr. Rodger Duncan interviews Mark Sanborn.
I’d begin by asking, “Why do you want to lead? What difference do you want to make?” Leadership has become trendy and many want to be “leaders” but don’t necessarily have compelling reasons. Leadership should be borne out of a desire to contribute rather than simply achieve. Leadership done right benefits both the leader and the greater good: followers, the organization, and/or the community. Know why you want to lead because without compelling reasons, you probably won’t be able to pay the cost of developing your leadership abilities and maintain your commitment in the face of challenges.
This wide-ranging discussion touches on a great many aspects of leadership but the first item mentioned is about earning the title of leader. Many leaders will work their way up the corporate ladder to achieve leadership by gaining responsibility gradually as they go. This is a great way to gain the respect of colleagues and peers. If you are results driven and show a flair for success then people will respect you and trust you to lead them in success as well. This contrasts sharply with those that get assigned a role of leadership and assume that this bestows a pass to behave poorly. Quite the opposite is true, a person who has a title bestowed on them must work doubly hard to earn the respect of their team. A leader who understands that true leadership is earned through service and a drive to succeed will go a lot farther than those that attain a position through bestowal and settle into it with complacency.