Leadership - Doing the right things, or doing things right.
In our previous blog Born to Manage, Learn to Lead we discussed the fact that no-one is, or ever will be, born the perfect leader. Every person is born with traits that may one day help them to be an excellent leader. Unfortunately, each of us is born with traits that may get in the way as well.
In our workshops we have a saying we like to use when we begin a leadership program which is – “Having a title doesn’t make you any more of a leader, then standing in a garage makes you a car.”
Why do we like to use this?
Because we feel it helps participants break the thought process that can often be along the lines of “I am not a leader as I don’t have an official leadership title”…
But, you know what? We can all be a leader before we have an official title. In fact, the best leaders are the ones that have been doing small actions in a leadership manner long before they ever were given a title.
The belief in being a leader because you hold a title is the key element that causes people in these roles to lack reflection and the self awareness to their leadership lacking’s. As a result this means they never work on these leadership lacking’s. On the other side, it can also can be a barrier for others because they don’t aspire to take on leadership behaviours because they lack the title.
What leadership is.
Our belief is that leadership is not about who you are. It doesn’t matter what your gender, education, experience, where you live, nationality – none of this matters! Leadership is about what you do.
We often say – in order to be a good leader, we need to find out what great leaders do – and do more of those actions.
Most managers are very good at understanding the task at hand, but often in the case of what we like to call “accidental manager” they have very little leadership experience. We often ask people what was the biggest surprise for them in becoming a leader and almost every time we are met with – “the people issues”!
The fact is when you are a leader – people issues are your job! As you grow as a leader you need to move away from the way you have been (often more task focused) and lean into and head towards creating good learning environments for your team. This means dealing with the people issues.
No one has a career goal of setting out to “become a leader”. Most of us find that along the journey of our career, we become what we like to call an accidental manager or accidental leader. That happens when we are really good at our job, we are identified as someone the organisation wants to hold onto yet not a lot of us have received formal training on how to lead people and teams. This can often mean we have a gap between where we are as a manager, and where we want to be as a leader. This is our leadership journey.