I recently read an article on leadership written by Kevin Kruse, CEO of LEADx and author of Great Leaders Have No Rules. He defined leadership as a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others toward the achievement of a goal. He pointed out critical aspects of authentic leadership that I couldn’t have agreed with more. Because we are ALL leaders in some way, I’ve decided to give my thoughts on the topic.
As individuals, we lead ourselves. Our ability or inability to do that victoriously tends to show up in our everyday lives and in how we guide others. As business owners and influencers in our communities and establishments, we can carry the power to empower others to accomplish specific tasks and goals. For mothers, we are leading our children with the expectation that our instruction and counsel will yield successful outcomes, granting them the capacity to influence others wherever they may find themselves leading. As the list goes on, one fact remains, we are all leaders with a certain level of influence that impacts another.
Leadership is not a title or a position. Some of the most outstanding leaders I know don’t have a designated title or role but have the weight, character, competence, and integrity needed to implement change. It is not about a certain level of control or power that makes one superior and unreachable. It doesn’t equal a decrease in responsibility. True leaders understand that serving, teaching, training, building trust, and earning the respect of those that follow them are critical to the success of their intended outcomes.
Leadership should not be viewed as the be-all-end-all or the goal in an organization or life, but as something that you walk out in whatever position of authority you find yourself in. It should be considered an opportunity to affirm, listen, build-up, coach, speak the truth tactfully and with love when needed, and commission. It should be seen as the chance to inspire and create moments for others to excel and achieve great success, even if it means they surpass us.
Leadership is not perfection. A true leader realizes their inadequacies and desires to be taught and led, so they have the willingness to follow. They recognize the need for development, correction, encouragement and are open to being challenged in areas they need to grow. They acknowledge the necessity for emotional health, maturity, and intelligence. When the mark is missed, they have the integrity and humility required to clarify their actions and correct their mistakes.
And lastly, leadership is not invasive or evasive. Great leaders are skilled at setting personal and professional boundaries. They are willing to have hard conversations and engage in a healthy confrontation that results in conflict resolution. When I think of authentic leadership and what it is and is not, I believe that we all must take a moment and assess our ways of influencing because we are all leading in some capacity. True leaders recognize the need to reflect, correct the wrong, and celebrate the right.