“Leadership is something you earn, something you’re chosen for. You can’t come in yelling. ‘I’m your leader!’ If it happens, it’s because the other guys respect you.”
We know that the idea that leadership is bestowed upon a few, select individuals is an antiquated notion. It is not a formal position of authority that determines leadership, but the ability to influence others. Every one of us has the potential to be a leader. So, what gives the position-less leader the power to influence others?
People follow those they trust. A position does not award you the trust required to be a leader. When we gain the trust of others we are able to influence them because they know that we will look out for their best interest. When we become a trusted advisor, we become a position-less leader.
People follow those who they see as competent. A title does not prove competence. When we work closely with others they start to have confidence in our skills and knowledge; they see the value of our experience. When we become the go-to person to answer questions and solve problems, we become a position-less leader.
People follow those with whom they develop good, two-way communication. Authority does not necessarily make you a good communicator. When we develop relationships where we share information; listen because we care; and empathize with others, we gain the ability to influence. With this influence, we become a position-less leader.
It’s About Respect
The bottom-line is: it’s all about respect. Leadership is the ability to influence others; it takes trust, proven competence, and two-way communication. These characteristics are not earned by acquiring a position of authority. They are developed through focusing our energy on becoming a positive force in the lives of others. When we earn their respect, we expand our influence, and become position-less leaders.