Positional leaders consider themselves leaders because of their position. The reality is a position does not make a leader. According to John Maxwell, leadership is influence, no more no less. A position could give you an indication of authority through hierarchy, but in the end it is your relationship between you and your constituents that matter. Can they trust you? Do they believe in you? Do you inspire them to go the extra mile? A leader is someone who makes other people look good as he/she works with them.
In my 23 years of experience in the industry, I’ve observed many types of leaders. I looked to emulate the good or great ones and at the same time took notes from the ones that I believe I can learn from. I believe that you learn as much from the bad leaders as from the good ones. It is important to discern that you need to touch someone’s heart because you can ask them to take the first step. Leading means serving others. It means going the extra mile to lead others to places that they themselves cannot reach or achieve.
A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.
While achieving a certain level of recognition is great, it helps to keep things in perspective that titles carry different weight and mean different things for various institutions. Should you focus on title? Or, should you focus on the value that you can add? It is a difficult question to answer, as the title often is associated with a certain level of compensation. However, it is important to take into consideration that liking what you’re doing is far more important than valuing a title that sounds great. At the end of the day, it is your sense of accomplishment that matters because it is where you achieve the full sense of satisfaction. So, the next time you have a choice between having a cool title or the chance of adding value, choose what your hearts believe in. Ask yourself the question, which one is sustainable? Which one gives you a sense of accomplishment? In the end, you have to be happy with your decision.