Why the Best Leaders Don’t Call Themselves Leaders

Every organization needs leaders and excellent leadership is not limited to executives and managers. Leaders are people who take it upon themselves to get a project moving that has fallen off the radar. Leaders are people who take extra time to hear customer concerns and develop appropriate solutions. Leaders are people who propel your company forward.

If you constantly call yourself a leader, you are probably not a very good one.

It is perfectly acceptable to identify yourself as a CEO, manager or director. But those titles do not automatically make you a leader. Your actions are what make you a leader, and people who are truly great leaders rarely use the word to identify themselves for a few reasons.

1) Leaders are too busy working to focus on what they are called: People tend to think that leaders always lead from the top. However, most of the people at the top got there by leading from within. Their incredible work ethic and performance is what got them to the “leadership” positions they are in today. The worst goal you can set for yourself in a career is to “become a leader.” Not only is it too vague, but it also does not spark immediate action. People in management positions got there by taking action when they recognize opportunities. So, if you are busy trying to move your team from one point to another, you won’t have time to worry about whether or not people are calling you a leader.

2) Leaders want to be a part of the team, not separated from it: A good manager or executive is in tune with what is going on at all levels of the organization. They are not sitting off in their corner offices basking in their impressive titles. They are passionate about their company’s mission so they make sure to touch base with the people who are directly influencing the product or service they offer, as well as the people who have the most contact with customers. If you let the word “leader” go to your head, it is hard to stay this involved and focused on what really matters.  You must remember that the most valuable asset of any organization is its people so a leader must support, encourage, and acknowledge their people.

3) Leadership is granted, not taken: Leaders rarely call themselves leaders because they did not decide to become leaders. A group of people typically gave them that honour due to the way they conducted themselves. If you want to lead people, you need to become someone who can influence others and help them to fulfill their potential. If you want to influence them, chances are you did not set out to be a leader, instead, you simply set out to influence people in order to achieve a goal. Employees like to follow someone who they can tell is working hard for a genuine identifiable purpose, not just to be called a leader.

Great leaders are people who communicate effectively, lead by example and commit to accomplishing the aims and goals that have been collaboratively decided upon.  They also recognize the potential in their people and mentor, guide, support, encourage, and thank them for the contributions to the success of the organization.


Sandy Chernoff
Sandy Chernoff
SANDY'S 30 years of didactic and clinical teaching in study clubs and continuing dental education, coupled with her almost 40 years of Dental Hygiene practice bring a wealth of experience to her interactive soft skills workshops. With her education background she easily customizes interactive sessions to suit the specific needs of her clients. Her energetic and humorous presentation style has entertained and informed audiences from Victoria to New York City. Sandy’s client list includes law firms, teaching institutions, volunteer and professional organizations and conferences, businesses, and individuals. Her newest project is turning her live workshops into e-learning programs using an LMS platform. Her teaching and education background have helped her to produce meaningful and somewhat interactive courses for the learners wanting the convenience of e-learning options. As the author of 5 Secrets to Effective Communication, Sandy has demonstrated her ability to demystify the complexities of communication so that the reader can learn better strategies and approaches which will greatly improve their communication skills and ultimately reduce conflict, resentment, disappointment, complaining, and confusion. As a result, the reader will be able to increase productivity, efficiency and creativity, improve all the relationships in their lives and ultimately enjoy a happier, healthier existence! Sandy blogs regularly on her two websites on the various soft skills topics that are featured in her workshops and e-learning programs.

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