Leadership means that you are being watched all the time. Yet, we spend more of our time on words and not actions.
Most of the leaders we see in our businesses use a lot of words. Words are the pseudo leader’s stock in trade.
Those who speak like the leaders above them get recognized. Use the right jargon, the newest corporate speak, spout out the latest leadership books and motivational You Tube videos, and everyone assumes they are a good leader. It is what they have learned from those around them. And as we look around there are many that have gotten ahead working within this model.
Illusionary leadership. That is all this is. We don the cloak of looking like a leader, talking like a leader, and we fit into the leader club. Soon enough we are treated like a leader. It is rampant, and so pervasive that we actually have begun to believe this is leadership.
That disconnect is why we need a million different leadership books on how to look and talk like a leader, and most miss the point.
Our actions will be judged intuitively by those around us, far more than what we say.
Leadership is influence. It isn’t a title. It isn’t a position.
The key to influence is to live your mission.
Be an example to others, always, even when you think no one is looking. Being an example is a function of character. And character is lacking in much of our modern conversation about leadership.
It is one of the main reasons many of the leaders I talk to are frustrated because they feel like they are doing all the “right” things and still not getting the results they want “from” their people.
I’ve been guilty of this myself. I had to take a good step back and look at each of the things I was doing. Not what I was saying. My intentions didn’t matter. What mattered was how my actions were influencing the people around me.
When there was a slight misalignment it showed up, in the actions I was taking. And those around me just weren’t as bought in to what we were trying to accomplish.
We all want to believe we have good character. That we are leaders and not managers. That we have principles. And while for a lot of people this may be true, from their own vantage point, they have not looked at their actions, their example, their character closely enough to realize that what they are doing is tainted.
Dig in deep to your mission. Take a good deep look at your actions and ensure they are aligned with your mission. If not, whoa, you’ve got some work to do.
Mission is more important than ego.