7 Ways to Lead Positively without the Title
Real leaders don’t depend on the “leader” label to launch their leadership legacy. They lead in the moment anyway.
Here’s what I mean by that – a leader by definition is one who is in the top role by title or influence relating to a group, team, organization, business or country. Because of this, many everyday employees don’t consider it the right time to begin their own leadership efforts. They are waiting for the promotion, the position, the award or the outside recognition – to confirm that they are worthy of the status and authority to be designated the leader. The problem with this is that it seriously postpones their ability to actualize their potential.
You are a Leader by Action not Title
A real leader doesn’t depend on a title – a real leader leads through everyday actions, ordinary events and unusual circumstances. Real leadership is about positive influence. People who influence positively do so because it’s right and makes a difference not because of their title or even the desire to have one. If you’re waiting for someone else to call you a leader, you’ll be severely disappointed when that day finally comes and you realize nothing really changes besides the expectations others have for you. Taking it upon yourself to influence others positively in ways you can, right now, gives you time to practice, gain experience and build your confidence for more difficult challenges later.
To be completely honest, I think there’s a very valid reason most employees would rather follow than attempt to lead through positive influence- they’re afraid of failure. When you start holding yourself to higher standards, you have further to fall when you fail. This can be an intimidating fear to conquer; however, I encourage you to challenge yourself. Failing and making mistakes are risks that are worth your while, especially when they are done in efforts to achieve more, inspire more and become more. The best leaders aren’t the ones that avoid mistakes, they are the ones that make the most of the mistakes they make.
So, here are 7 simple suggestions on ways you can lead even when you’re not a “leader”:
- Encourage your coworkers. Notice their strengths, praise their accomplishments, and be aware of their contributions.
- Notice opportunities for change and improvement – and put together action plans on how to address these opportunities.
- Do your current job well, look for ways to improve and keep learning to get better.
- Be a team player. Positive working relationships are crucial to effective leaders. Build bridges not barriers with others.
- Strive to manage what you typically expect your manager to manage. This doesn’t mean that you should stop utilizing your manager and his or her resources and expertise – it does mean that you should stop and ask yourself if you can do the things you typically ask him or her to do for you.
- Make the most of leadership resources in the meantime. It’s never too early to start reading leadership blogs, soliciting feedback, or learning leadership lessons. Even if you can’t relate to everything, it will help to increase your knowledge and awareness for the future.
- Invest in your network. Find mentors, meet with others you respect and admire, ask questions, and do your best to invest in establishing and solidifying your network of already-established leaders.
Don’t wait for someone else to deem you a leader. Start by influencing others positively, and leadership will be thrust upon you. You can define this by what you are and how you act and where you want to go – right now.
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Or, do you want a proven game-plan for career success? If so, check out Rick’s Superstar Leadership book.