Don’t take it personal. Most people that will read this article and that will read articles about leadership on the internet are actually followers. Leadership is so much more than what most people think. In most cases people believe that leadership means leading a team at work. Many of the team leaders are horrible and do not know much about leadership.
Leadership is all about motivating people to push it more and give their very best. It is not connected with a title, seniority or authority. You are basically not a leader if there are people that report to you or if you tell people what to do in a business. A true leader is going to influence people to do only their very best. We can thus say that leadership is much more connected with social influence than with positional power.
Is The Janitor A Leader?
Most people will quickly answer NO. The correct answer is MAYBE. Janitors can influence people and they can lead others similar to what the CEO does. Any person can be a follower, sometimes even when the company job is in a leadership spot.
The follower lacks vision and does not motivate all people around. The best example is the senior executive that you so often see in companies, the one that creates bureaucracy, always stays inside the office and does not interact with people. At the same time, there are many that will interact but will not inspire anything.
Are You A Leader?
This is quite hard to answer. I personally see myself as a leader in some areas but I cannot say that I am a true leader because of various different flaws. In many aspects I am a follower. The true leader is someone that is so much more than that and that will not be a follower.
It is hard to determine if someone is a leader. However, the following traits are quite common:
- Going above and beyond the job duties, seeing job descriptions as simple bare minimums.
- Confidence – Leaders are not afraid to say that they were wrong or that they need extra help.
- Being optimistic seems to be quite common among leaders. Followers always see limitations while leaders see the potential.
- Being open to making changes.
- Being decisive in the work done, without the presence of hesitation.
- Followers will blame others as the first instinct when something goes wrong. The leaders will take the blame and will accept accountability.
- Being humble. Although there are some leaders that are not, this trait is much more common among leaders.
- Being passionate – this helps a lot in not being trapped by daily grinding.
- Not focusing on titles – this is something that the follower will care about.
- A focus on people and trying to make them do the best they can instead of just remaining focus on himself.
- A willingness to learn.
So…Are You A Leader?
Keep thinking about all the traits above. Are you a true leader or a follower? The great thing about all this is that followers can become leaders. It takes work though. You have to be willing to learn and gradually gain all the skills needed. Eventually, all will lead towards becoming a good leader, with normal natural limitations, of course.
Followership and leadership are both MINDSETS. These are ways in which you see the world. The follower is reactive. The leader is proactive. The leader is optimistic. The follower is pessimistic. The idea is that you will not be given leadership. It is something you earn, something you claim. You become a leader after a lot of hard work. Till then, you are a follower and you should see yourself as a follower.