Leadership is not about pride or position. If you’re seeking leadership merely for pride, status, and ego, you’re doing it wrong. A leader is in front, so they are able to reach down and help bring others up.
As a leader, you have tremendous influence on others. Your influence should help steer people in the right direction and set an example for honesty and generosity.
A leader is also charged with inspiring confidence, not only in themselves, but also in others. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, you’re hardly in a position to inspire it in others.
Even if you are a solopreneur, you still have a need to project an aura of leadership. As mentioned earlier, this starts with generosity and contributing to others’ success.
Your own leadership style will depend on your personality, your strengths, and your uniqueness. As any life coach will tell you – you need to be your authentic self. Trying to imitative someone else will only reveal you as a phony.
In today’s business world, projecting leadership, for better or worse, includes being professional in your appearance. As Malcolm Gladwell points out in his book Blink, The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, people make decisions about you in the blink of an eye, without even thinking about it. That’s why a professional appearance, as well as professional manners, is critical to leadership. People will unconsciously label you as a leader, or not, almost immediately.
A leader also doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Networking, being a member of a mastermind or similar group, are all ways to establish your leadership credentials. As mentioned earlier, a true leader doesn’t need to automatically lead or control every situation, group, or gathering. Organizations and events give you the opportunity to demonstrate your generosity, knowledge, and willingness to give so that others will succeed. When you do this, any group you join will recognize you as a leader.
William Arthur Wood, a leader and Canadian educator in the early 20th century said: “Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination, on cooperation, not intimidation.”
The next time you're conducting performance reviews, here are three valuable questions you may want to add to the conversation:
- What is a leadership opportunity you can envision in your future?
- What do you consider your leadership strengths and weaknesses?
- What can you do to help others in the company succeed?