Not everyone can or should become a leader. Simply wanting to be a leader doesn’t mean a person has the character, skill, and courage necessary to be a leader. “I never cease to be amazed by the numbers of people in leadership positions who shouldn’t be,” says Mike Myatt, one of my favorite leadership experts, writing for Forbes magazine. “Likewise, I’ve stopped being surprised when those charged with leadership development can’t seem to figure out what constitutes a leader. I hope this list will eliminate the confusion about why someone isn’t a leader.”
You’re not a leader if…
1. You don’t get results: Real leaders perform, they get the job done, and they consistently exceed expectations. No results = no leadership.
2. You get results the wrong way: If the only way you can solve the deficit described in point #1 above is through lying or cheating, you’re not a leader. The ends don’t justify the means. If you abuse your influence, don’t treat people well, or confuse manipulation with leadership, you may win a few battles, but you’ll lose the war.
3. You don’t care: Indifference is a characteristic not well suited to leadership. You simply cannot be a leader if you don’t care about those you lead. The real test of any leader is whether those you lead are better off for being led by you.
4. You’re chasing a position and not a higher purpose: If you value self-interest above service beyond self you simply don’t understand the concept of leadership. Leadership is about caring about something beyond yourself, and leading others to a better place – even if it means you take a back seat.
5. You care more about making promises than keeping them: Leadership isn’t about your rhetoric; it’s about your actions. Leadership might begin with vision casting, but it’s delivering the vision that will ultimately determine your success as a leader.
6. You put people in boxes: Stop telling people why they can’t do something and show them how they can. Leaders don’t put people in boxes; they free them from boxes. True leadership is about helping people reach places they didn’t know they could go.
7. You follow the rules instead of breaking them: Status quo is the great enemy of leadership. Leadership is nothing if not understanding the need for change, and then possessing the ability to deliver it.
8. You churn talent instead of retain it: Real leadership serves as a talent magnet – not a talent repellent. If you can’t acquire talent, develop it, or retain it you are not a leader.
9. You take credit instead of giving it: True leadership isn’t found seeking the spotlight, but seeking to shine the spotlight on others.
10. You care about process more than people: But for the people there is no platform. Without the people you have nothing to lead. When you place things above the people you lead, you have failed as a leader.
Do you have what it takes to be a leader? Does your boss?