Today many people think the term “leader” means the same as the title “manager”. But this isn’t true. While the term manager, team leader or supervisor is bestowed upon people who are paid to manage your lead a team of people or a particular task or project, a leader is someone who exerts influence. So, you don’t need to title to be a leader.
Take a look at any playground, and you’ll see certain boys and girls exhibiting leadership. They’re the kids suggesting what games to play. The followers of those children who just go along with what the leader suggests.
In the workplace, someone exhibiting leadership qualities might see a problem on a project and share the problem with his or her manager as well as offer a possible solution to solve the problem.
In the wonderful book, “you don’t need a title to be a leader”, author, Mark Sanborn makes this assertion; “Leadership isn’t about having a title. Often, the strongest leaders in an organisation, and in life, are those who don’t have official titles. When I stay at a hotel, I rarely meet the General Manager, but I always meet bell caps, doormen, front desk personnel, housekeepers and restaurant staff. It is their service leadership that makes me decide to come back – or not.”
Have you ever met a manager who wasn’t a leader?
We’ve all met leaders who inspired us that didn’t have a management title. So have you ever met a manager who wasn’t a leader? Chances are, you have. They’re everywhere!
These are the men and women who boss, bully, cajole in order to get things done. They don’t care very much about helping and supporting the people they manage; Rather, it’s about making sure tasks are completed.
The reality years that a manager’s job is to get things done. A leader’s job is to inspire people to want to get the job done.
There are five ways you can be a leader even if you don’t have an official title.
1. Ask not what your company can do for you, ask what you can do for your company. I know, I’ve kind of taken the words of Pres John F. Kennedy and change them a bit. But I think you get where I’m coming from. So many employees whinge in whine. They become part of the problem. In fact, they often are the problem!
How about you become part of the solution. Rather than wait for someone else to make a suggestion, Make the suggestion. The world’s most successful sporting team , the New Zealand rugby team, “All Blacks” make sure that wherever they are in the world, after every game of rugby each of the players (who almost worshipped like gods in New Zealand) make it their job to “clean the sheds” before they leave the grounds. In fact, they try and leave the change sheds in a better condition than before they arrived.
It might sound trivial, but washing your cup and putting it away in the covered at work, rather than leaving it in the sink for someone else to wash is a sign of leadership. So is speaking up in a meeting if you disagree or wish to make a point.
2. Be an example. Nobody expects you to be perfect,but what part of your working life is worth copying. For example, do you have excellent time management skills? Are you highly emotionally intelligent? Are you able to stay focused for long periods of time and not get distracted by email?
Let me ask you, what example are you setting the rest of your colleagues?
3. Keep your promises. If you can’t do something for someone else, then say so. It’s either yes or no. In fact, I think it was Yoda who said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
4. Say thank you and be grateful. Nobody likes a whiner or someone who is always complaining. When a colleague or stranger does something for you, say thank you.
5. Leaders are readers. In my experience, men and women who leave without a title, love learning and improving themselves. Whether it’s reading or listening to podcasts on any number of self-development topics if you’re a leader when you’re also committed to developing yourself.
So, how would you rate your leadership skills between zero and 10? Is their room to become more of a leader at work and in your personal life?