Everybody thinks they’re a leader…

I once read a Forbes article which stated, “Everybody thinks they’re a leader – most are far from it. Simply desiring to be a leader doesn’t mean a person has the character, skill, and courage necessary to be a leader.”

Well, in traveling the country and meeting a lot of people I believe we have a huge Void of Leadership – In homes, government, business, communities, and schools – everywhere. It never ceases to amaze me at the number of people in leadership positions that truly shouldn’t be there. AND I am saddened by those that are in charge of leadership development that can’t seem to determine what truly constitutes a leader.

What does leadership look like? What is truly the role of a leader? Are they defined as someone with a CEO title, manager title OR is it something bigger and more important than that?

Well I believe it IS something bigger and more important than that. Do you have leaders; I mean TRUE leaders, in your organization or is that a void for you too? Many of you that know me well, know I love to read and leadership is one of my favorite topics to read about.

So I have compiled a list – that yes, is my opinion – of what constitutes a great leader

1. True Leaders value service to others. True leaders desire to serve others. They care about leading others to success. Who do you think of first – yourself or those you serve?

2. True Leaders care. True leaders care about everyone they lead and about the cause or business they are leading. Are your customers and employees better off BECAUSE you are leading them?

3. True Leaders break some rules. True leaders understand the need for change; have the ability to change and lead change. Do you know when change is needed? Do you support change in a positive way?

4. True Leaders cast a vision & take action. True leaders cast a vision but they must deliver the vision too. Do you cast a vision? Do you take action towards that vision?

5. True Leaders get results: True leaders get results (no matter what role they are in) and they consistently exceed expectations. How do you measure up to the goals you have set?

6. True Leaders care more about people than anything: True Leaders place learning more about people than anything else and always place people first. Without people there is nothing to lead. Do you place processes above people?

7. True Leaders are honest and humble in getting results: A true leader treats everyone with honor and respect. Do you? I mean EVERYONE…??

8. True Leaders help people reach places they didn’t know they should or could. True Leaders don’t tell people why they can’t do something; they show them how they can. True leaders’ help people reach places they didn’t know they could go. How many times have you said “you can’t do that rather than let’s figure out how?

9. True Leaders give credit and don’t take it. True Leaders don’t seek the spotlight, they shine the spotlight on others – they say “we” when there is success and “I” when there is failure. Who have you shined a spotlight on lately?

10. True Leaders are sought out. True Leaders are sought out by talented people. Talented people understand leadership, they seek it. If you can’t acquire talent, check your leadership skills – how do you score?

It’s a humbling exercise to truly check yourself in these basic areas, but we all should. Leadership can be learned, but it stems from the basics of putting others – people – first. There are days we “think” we are doing this, but I challenge you to take one day and consciously check how you are doing in the leadership area. It truly doesn’t matter what your title or role is, we ALL can be leaders.

– Sandy