What makes someone a leader anyway?
Such a simple question, and yet it continues to vex some of the best thinkers in business. We’ve written several books on leadership, and yet it’s a rare thing to actually pause to define leadership.
Let’s start with what leadership is not…
Leadership has nothing to do with seniority or one’s position in the hierarchy of a company. Too many talk about a company’s leadership referring to the senior most executives in the organization. They are just that, senior executives. Leadership doesn’t automatically happen when you reach a certain pay grade. Hopefully you find it there, but there are no guarantees.
Leadership has nothing to do with titles. Similar to the point above, just because you have a C-level title, doesn’t automatically make you a “leader.” We often stress the fact that you don’t need a title to lead. You can be a leader in your workplace, your neighborhood, or your family, all without having a title.
Leadership has nothing to do with personal attributes. Say the word “leader” and most people think of a domineering, take-charge, charismatic individual. People often think of icons from history like General Patton or President Lincoln. But leadership isn’t an adjective. We don’t need to be extroverted or charismatic to practice leadership. And those with charisma don’t automatically lead.
Leadership isn’t management. This is the big one. Leadership and management are not synonymous. You have 15 people in your downline and P&L responsibility? Good for you, hopefully you are a good manager. Good management is needed. Managers need to plan, measure, monitor, coordinate, solve, hire, fire, and so many other things. Managers spend most of their time managing things. Leaders lead people.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book,Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, TIME, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.