Are you A Great Leader?

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Leadership is action not position. You can be a great “leader” simply by acting like one. Great leaders don’t “need” titles, a big salary, a secretary, or a bunch of groupies following them around in order to do what leaders do best — to lead and solve problems. A great leader understands that actions speak much louder than any given title especially when the topic is influence. They also understand that compensation is a consequence of great and consistent work done overtime not as a result of having the title, “Director of Operations” necessarily. When given administrative support, great leaders never delegate tasks that they can’t complete themselves because asking someone to complete their own work is evidence of their own hidden incompetence. Great leaders are also aware that groupies tend to be more interested in advancing their own agendas at someone else’s expense than to truly listen to what a great leader has to say. Therefore, great leaders don’t always cater to groupies’ self-centered tactics of self-advancement due to their known and predictable behavioral nature. Before I go any further, let me summarize what I just told you so that you never forget…

Just because an individual is placed in a position of leadership doesn’t automatically turn him into a “great leader”. Authority is part of leadership but leadership that works isn’t always authoritative.

By the way, just because some leaders are given the authority to make decisions over a person or a team of people don’t mean that they have the “right” to scream at or belittle them. A great leader doesn’t need to scream at others in order to have his voice heard. The moment that an authoritative figure starts screaming at you and your peers, or make you feel small, its time for you to start looking for another opportunity. There is nothing worse than working in a toxic working environment long-term. It ain’t worth it, trust me.

I am not saying that a leader shouldn’t have a distinctive job title, be well compensated or lack administrative support. I am not saying that a leader shouldn’t have people interested in following in his footsteps during his tenure at a particular position, either. Leaders can (and often deserve) having such benefits. However, one of the main jobs of a great leader is to hire and retain talent. Without talent, the leader is dead… or shall we say, “Alone.” Great leaders need to be very careful to not abuse their own “benefits.”

Again: The job of a great leader is, among many things, to hire and retain talent. If a leader acts like a follower or is too self-centered, then they won’t be able to retain talent overtime. The former is, de facto, evidence of leadership incompetence.

You might be asking, “How do you act like a great leader?” Let me share with you a few tips on how to act like one.

1) Be a man (or woman) of integrity: If you say that you are going to do something, do it.. It is plain and simple. DO NOT gossip about anyone. If a work relationship isn’t working, don’t pretend that it is. Always tell the truth.

2) Be loyal to your company’s brand: As long as your company is writing you a paycheck every month, be loyal to them. Here are my ways to show loyalty to the universities I’ve worked for: First, I share posts on social media about their events, accomplishments, recruiting efforts… for thousands of people to see. It shows them that I care about them — which I do. Second, I immediately buy a school’s t-shirt, take photos with it, and make sure that my colleagues, family and friends see me wearing the t-shirt in public and in social media. Lastly, be yourself and be creative. You only live once so you might as well have fun in the process and do what you like.

3) Do the work yourself with the assistance of others: The moment that you need others to do your work, its time for you to retire or look for another career. Great leaders work very hard and often work alone with the input of others in order to complete challenging tasks. If your plan is to be a great leader, do the former.

4) Don’t be afraid to listen to the ideas of others: It is impossible to do everything as a leader no matter where you work at. Listen to your team, put your ego aside and make well thought decisions taking into account the opinion of others. The former builds trust and leadership klout. You are going to need both in order to be a great leader.

5) Trash the idea that title and popularity equals leadership. Just because a person is given the title of a Manager, Director, VP, or Trustee doesn’t mean that they are a leader per se. The same can be said about folks who are well know in their communities… Popularity isn’t synonymous with leadership. Although a great leader knows how to communicate with constituents, and can be charismatic, he knows that popularity by itself won’t make anyone into a great leader. In fact, pretending that popularity and charisma equals great leadership can be quite destructive overtime. Jim Collins, in his best selling book, “From Good to Great” talks about the former in great detail. I recommend you to start reading his book today, if you can. It is a great resource to have without a doubt.. if your goal is to be a great leader.

Leadership is action not position. You can be a quite influential “leader” simply by acting like one. Leaders don’t “need” titles, a big salary, a secretary, or a bunch of groupies following them around in order to do what leaders should do best — to lead and solve problems. A true leader understands that actions speak much louder than any given title especially when dealing with influence. In this article, we spoke a bit about great leadership. Hope that the content written in this article was useful to you. What is great leadership to you?

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