Do you have what it takes to be a leader in our industry? Leadership is not easy. It takes a lot of work, tiresome dedication, and personal sacrifice. I see many who have positions of authority, but lack leadership skills. Likewise, I see many who are in subordinate roles who demonstrate amazing leadership skills.
To me, the difference between a “boss” and a leader is simple. Bosses have a position of authority. They can tell you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. It may not always be right, but you need to do what you are told. A leader, on the other hand, is someone you want to follow—one who clears the path, takes the risks, and nurtures and develops you along the way for your success. A person can be a leader and a boss, but just because you are the boss, does not mean you are a leader.
Think about your present organization and the folks that you report to. Are they leaders or bosses—or are they both? What about some of your peers or even subordinates. Perhaps they are people you admire, respect, and want to follow. Leadership is about making sure you lead versus just “opposing” the boss, or creating gossip or stories about others, be they the “boss” or otherwise. Leaders truly stand out as they see or invent the future rather than follow it.
Recently, I have been working with two clients on leadership. One is already a “boss” and demonstrates terrific leadership skills, but she is not quite at the point of truly being a leader. People admire that she has risen to where she is; they are happy for her; they think she deserves it, but are still not sure if they want to “follow her into battle.” We are working with this woman to help her build her leadership skills side, so those folks will follow her unconditionally by choice! She will be successful—and it won’t take long. She gets it.
The second client is a young man who wants and hopes to be elevated to a “boss” position, but truly does not have the leadership skills in place to be a leader. He may get the promotion based on sales activity and term of service, but I am not sure if he will last in the role. His superiors (who are leaders) have us working with him to try to groom him to be a leader within our industry versus a “hunter/closer” salesperson. He is capable of it. He has the sales relationship skills. He just needs to transfer them into leadership skills to lead a team of successful sponsorship professionals.
Just the other day, I saw a quote in a periodical. It said, “If I want to be a leader, I have to do more than just find out which direction the mob is moving and then get out in front of it… leadership involves significant sacrifice of personal goals and ambitions. Personal pettiness just has no place in leadership.”
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