Leadership – What does this mean in today’s times?

Leadership – What does this mean in today’s times?

Why does leadership need to change in ‘today’s times?’ Why should leadership change? Leadership is a timeless position that, if done correctly, hasn’t changed since the beginning of time.

A leader is someone who can get others to do things they wouldn’t have done otherwise. Now, the hard part is getting others to follow you…

Leadership Starts with YOU

To be an elite leader, one must have each of these three traits:

  • Role model
  • Supporter
  • Challenger

Role Model: Development of leadership starts with YOU. You cannot give away what you don’t possess. This could be your energy, passion, work ethic, willingness to learn, vulnerability, and many other traits of a leader. As the role model, the leader must first demonstrate the traits of leadership by example.

Supporter: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This quote from Theodore Roosevelt perfectly defines the supporter trait of a great leader.

Gaining trust from others is essential to becoming a great leader. Trust comes from how other people experience their leader. Others will focus on these aspects of their leaders:

  • Character: the moral qualities of the leader.
  • Competence: how successful or efficient is the leader in their workspace.

Connection: ability to link or associate with someone else.

To build connection with others, a leader must do these four things:

  • Care
  • Listen
  • Communicate
  • Adjust leadership style to each individual’s specific style

In the book “The Captain Class” by Sam Walker, proof is shown that this is important: “Field studies have shown that when team leaders display deep emotions effectively, they can have a strong impact of the thoughts, emotions, and actions of subordinates.”

Challenger: This is the separator of becoming an elite level leader. This is also the hardest part – and least fun part – of being a leader. Leaders MUST challenge. Leaders must have the hard and tough conversations. Leaders must never get complacent. Leaders must hold themselves and others to the highest standards of excellence within their companies. Leaders must get themselves, their companies, and their subordinates out of their comfort zones to continue to grow and develop.

Leadership comes from saying not what others want to hear, but rather what they NEED to hear. A part of this is holding themselves and others accountable. Holding others, or yourself, accountable is never a ‘fun’ conversation to have. Yet, accountability is a MUST for individual and company success.

Leadership is NOT what you think

Leadership is a mindset first, not a title. In the book “You Don’t Need A Title To Be A Leader,” author Mark Sanborn explains it perfectly: “Leadership is power with people, not power over people.” Your company can put you into a position of authority, but only you can put yourself into a position of leadership.

The bottom line is that influence and inspiration come from the person, not the position. It’s not for everyone. Leadership is time consuming, hard, confusing, and not fun at times (see Challenger trait above). But it is also is rewarding, motivating, and encouraging.

In conclusion, the position of a leader will always exist. What we must focus on is the person of the leader. Being an exceptional leader comes from who the person is. Leaders must earn the trust of others. Set high standards. Then equip and inspire those to live up to the highest standards.

Jeff Becker
WHEN Career Advisor

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