When people think about leadership they tend to associate it with seniority. While this might be appropriate to some extent, the truth is that leadership can actually be shown by anyone at any level.
I say that because if you think about it we all have to demonstrate self-leadership every day. We all have to keep ourselves motivated when we are perhaps having a bit of an off day. We have to organise ourselves and make sure that we make the best use of time. We have to form and maintain good relationships even when there are very different points of view. We also need to exercise self-control when we might well be frustrated at the lack of progress or support.
If we look at leadership of people, I have noticed a few important truths when it comes to leadership.
Seniority Doesn’t Make You A Leader
You might find this hard to believe but in my experience no one becomes a leader or a leader that someone else wants to follow because of where they sit on an organisation chart.
It’s An Incredibly Lonely Existence
I can recall being told by a Partner at one of the big accountancy firms I worked for that being in a leadership role was an incredibly lonely existence. At the time I didn’t give it much thought. When I was in a formal leadership role it made complete sense.
Sometimes when you pick up and read a lot of the books on leadership, you get the impression that it is all success and achievement. Most will tell you that in practice it’s tough. There are often difficult decisions and choices to be made. At times these decisions and choices have a huge impact on others.
The Bar Keeps Getting Raised
If you watch the high jump or the pole vault, you will know that as competitors clear one height, the bar is raised higher. Leadership is very similar. Pretty soon after you have delivered a result, the past success is forgotten and a new milestone or goal is set that needs to be met.
Everyone Else Thinks They Know Better
I’m sure we have all seen times when leaders seem to procrastinate and others wonder what all the fuss is about. It can be incredibly easy to stand on the side lines and judge when you are not the person carrying the risk.
You Will Never Please Everyone
In any situation there will be those who are happy with what you do, those who are okay with it and those who detest what you have done or are proposing to do. Often it is a case of recognising this and accepting that you will never please everyone.
The Buck Stops With You
Ultimately you are accountable for what is or what’s not achieved. With the rewards that goes with being in a leadership role, comes accountability. The buck really does stop with you.
Peers Are Not Necessarily Team Players
One would think that a team of people from different backgrounds would collaborate and work together to achieve objectives. This does not always happen. Sometimes people become so attached to their own priorities and give preference to their own rather than what the team is trying to achieve.
Egos Sometimes Get In The Way Of Results
Those in formal leadership roles are often highly driven. Personal drive in itself is no bad thing. It’s when personal egos get in the way of results that things can quickly go off the rails.
The Best Doers Don’t Necessarily Make The Best Leaders
There are a lot of professional people who are great at getting things done. This is probably what got them noticed and earmarked for leadership. The trouble is being the best doer does not necessarily mean that you are cut out to lead.
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps professionals become highly effective leaders.