Leadership is not defined by the position you’re in at your job. Because your name-tag says manager, supervisor, or dean does not exclusively qualify you as a leader. Like I talked about in yesterday’s blog, this is especially true if you’re doing passionless work. Visionless work. It may be someone else’s vision to further the company or institution, but it is far from your own.
Also, a great leader is actually a really great follower. Great leaders get themselves around other great leaders that have journeyed further than they have. They follow the examples and teachings of these great men and women. They learn how to lead others toward a vision that holds incredible value.
A great leader wants to pull up other great leaders. It’s a continual process and there is a whole lot of following going on. Often we separate leading and following, thinking that a leader is just someone out there alone leading the charge. That is partly true, but prior to this there was serious time, energy, effort, and influence poured into that leader by one greater than him or her. A leader is not in the game or going to war alone. He or she is being led by the vision burning in his or her heart and the teachings of others that have helped him or her to understand that vision more fully.
If you believe that you’re going to become a leader without allowing yourself to be humbled and learn from those that have gone before you, your mission will be thoroughly ineffectual. It will be near-impossible to understand your vision, next steps, and current impact or lack of impact without the coaching of someone outside of yourself.
Really, a great leader’s primary concern should be to find someone worth following. To learn all that they can from that individual or group of individuals that have led themselves and others in a direction that resonates with the seeking leader’s vision.
Lead yourself to a great leader and follow them. This creates in you a leadership quality that is unmatched; a leader with the ability to follow.
If you wanna lead like a boss, in the sense of being a kick-ass leader, you gotta find someone worth following.