Well, it’s time to stop calling yourself a leader.
I go on social media every single day, and I see the same thing. Everywhere and everyone is calling themselves a leader, and not even knowing what the word means.
I want to take some time today to actually explain what a leader is, so we can start being really clear about who is a leader, and who is not. Because giving yourself or even calling someone else a leader is in my opinion a very high honour.
Calling everyone with ears a leader cheapens the whole meaning of what it is to be a leader. Let’s talk quickly about what it is to be a leader.
To be a leader, the first thing I need is to be kind. Kindness that goes above volunteering, or donating, or even giving money to a homeless person you see on the street.
What I mean by kindness is helping people succeed. Helping people succeed that will never repay you, and with no expectation of them ever giving you anything. Kindness to another human being and helping them to reach their potential. That’s what means being a leader.
Kindness is the first thing. We also get confused that being a leader means I just take action. Let’s be really clear. You can take lots of action and be nowhere near the statue of being a leader.
Another thing that a leader looks like, another thing that a leader is, is they are a visionary. A leader looks to the future. A leader looks to pave the way for not only themselves, but for others to follow. If you’re someone who is doing well for yourself and earning lots of money, and you’ve run a business and you’ve got lots of clients, you’re not a leader. You’re just a really great business person.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But a leader, a really true leader is actually paving the way for other people to follow. They’re paving the way to make things easier for those who follow them. They’re innovating, but they’re looking to help those around them.
What else makes up a leader? Well, a leader is selfless. A leader is not looking to advance themselves, they are looking to help everyone succeed. A leader will actually step to the side to actually allow someone else to step into their potential. If you are looking for your own success, for your own ambition, then that is amazing. But please don’t call yourself a leader. Because unless you are paving the way, unless you are being selfless and actually putting your desires, your wants aside, then you’re not truly leading.
What else does a leader do? A leader invests their time. A leader invests their time in other humans, for no pay-off other than to help them. They invest their time to support, to guide. They invest their time to have a conversation and even just simply check in, with no other underlying reason for making that connection, other than to see how the other person is. If you’re making a coffee date or a lunch date, or you’re making a phone call because you want something from that other person, right then and there you’re actually not leading. If you’re looking to serve, if you’re looking to support, if you’re looking to actually connect human to human, that’s when you’re starting to lead.
We have to stop calling every action where we interact with another human being, leadership, because it is simply not.
It is not leadership to want to walk on someone’s face to get where you’re going. It is not leadership to use other people for your own gain or success. That is not what leadership is. Leadership is lifting others up. Leadership is creating a space for people to reach their full potential. Leadership is a role of service.
Before you go and call someone a leader, before you go and call yourself a leader, I want you to stop and think about, would you be doing this if you didn’t get paid? If it paid you nothing to take the action you’re taking right now, would you still do it? Because a leader, a true leader would answer yes every day of the week.
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