Leadership Is Not A Position

For most of my life, I've thought that leadership was synonymous with a position or a particular title. Only those at the top of the org. chart were classified as leaders. This could not be further from the truth. Being a leader means someone is following you. You don't need a title for that. So, if you are waiting for a title to lead, you could be waiting forever.

Perhaps you've spent years acquiring skills. You've read all the leadership books, attended the seminars, and heard the TED Talks on what it means to be a leader. But no one is following you.

Leadership is about character. Your character determines your influence, and your influence determines whether or not you're being followed. Who you are in public and in private; that's where you'll find your character. People notice our hypocritical tendencies, and won't follow that. Others heed warning when they see our character stemming from selfish ambition or pride. No one wants to follow that either.

If you want to be a great leader, you can not sacrifice great character. Period. There is no way around that. How do you develop character and become a leader that someone wants to follow?

1. Spend time with other leaders who have character worth emulating. Some times we need to see it in action to know what we're looking for. And it's true, if we want to know who we're becoming, take a look at who we're spending time with.

2. Ask yourself the hard questions and be willing to make a change. Is there a gap between what people believe about me and what is actually true about me? Is there a gap between what people actually see about me and what I want people to see about me?

3. Time. Great leaders don't happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work over time. Don't give up!