Leaders are born, not made.
I’ve heard that said. In fact, I probably grew up being told and believing just that. Truthfully, I’ve not believed that for quite some time; it appears society is taking a while to catch up with my progressive style of thinking, though.
See, I now believe that the capacity to become and be an incredible leader is likely within each and every one of us. Does that mean we’ll all respond to the “call”? Absolutely not! You don’t even need statistics to prove that to you; just look around. The majority of people won’t respond. Why is that?
Because it’s just too darn comfortable to NOT be a leader!
Here the top four things you can do (or continue to do) to secure your spot in life as a “non-leader”:
- Cling to your title, position, or longevity at all costs
Once upon a time, title, position, and longevity (or you may know it as seniority) was everything; today… not so much – from the company and employee viewpoints.
See, respect (a characteristic found in all great and effective leaders, whether you like them personally or not) is something earned… not freely given. Let me qualify that statement, though, because I can hear some of you groaning right now. Take me, for example: I’ll show a certain amount of respect to every human being on this planet – just for being who they are! That said, I also keep some “in reserve”. This means there’s some I hold on to, allowing people to earn and maintain the respect they actually deserve, from my vantage point.
And, sadly but justly, in my opinion… respect can also be lost – in the blink of an eye, by one single action done, statement said, or failure to do what you should. Once lost, it can be extremely difficult to get back because we’re all human and forgiveness probably doesn’t come as quickly, frequently, or easily as it should.
For me, titles, positions, and seniority, well, they mean virtually nothing. YOU are a person, and your “title” doesn’t define you! My “judgment” and amount of corresponding respect comes in time and is solely based upon who you are and your personal actions and/or statements – never the words you may feel tell the world who you are. (Note: From a self-esteem perspective, allowing these things to define who you are can lead to a very detrimental outcome in your life one day, so be very careful with this!)
- Settle for mediocrity
As a non-leader you want to fit in with everybody else, right? I dunno that I want to go so far as to say you’re a follower… but you are, kinda. And, as a “follower”, the society of today would dictate that you just need to sit down, shut up, and settle for the mediocre, mundane life you’ve been dealt. I view it as the “minimalistic mentally” in it’s healthy, thriving mode. It can be very alarming to watch, let alone experience. For example, today I went through my local Starbuck’s drive-thru.
I don’t go there a lot, but somewhat regularly at any rate. I placed my usual order (tall, vanilla bean frappuccino – plain) and drove to the window, then handed the girl my card, which she promptly ran. When handing it back to me, she said, “Okay, here ya go.” No offer of a receipt, nothing about my order… Nothing. I sat and waited. A few minutes goes by and another girl comes to the window with a vanilla bean frappuccino… with whipped cream topping! As she opened the window, I told her I’d ordered my drink “plain”. She asked if that meant I didn’t want whipped cream on it or anything? I said yes… plain. She replied, “We didn’t know what you meant by that,” and walked away with the drink. She returned – mmm… fairly quickly, I guess – with a vanilla bean frappuccino… with “no” whipped cream and a flat lid.
Now, I’m relatively certain she just took the drink, spooned out the whipped cream topping (as evidenced by the indention that remained in the top of the drink), slapped a flat lid on it, and brought it back to me. Some would say, “What’s wrong with that?” From a business perspective, makes perfect sense, right? I mean, “throwing away” that drink and making me a new one with NO whipped cream topping is throwing away product. Here’s the thing, though…
What if I’d ordered my drink “plain” because I was allergic to whipped cream topping?
Can you say, “legal liability”?
Poor customer service… and likely the loss of MY business (and now I’m telling YOU, right?). There are just too many other Starbucks for me to choose from if I want a PLAIN vanilla bean frappuccino! Minimialistic mentality.
- Stand for nothing
Some people say, “go along, get along,” but I tend to not adhere to that credo. I understand completely that no matter how I may try to be likable, please people, be a good person, etc., the fact of the matter is… not everybody is going to like me. Period. I’m okay with that. I’m not going to “like” every other person on the planet either. I love my fellow man, regardless – but that doesn’t mean I like all of them. Nor does it mean that I’m going to allow others to dictate and control my own moral and ethical compass.
You’re likely a non-leader if you struggle with either of these things – not because you don’t want to be; more likely because, for whatever reason, your value is misplaced on a thing (i.e., title, sense of needing approval or acceptance of others, etc.) rather than found and defined within yourself. Leaders tend to stand their ground and speak their peace — at least unless provided a viable alternative that fits within their personal boundaries. (Yes, they usually develop the skill of knowing when, where, and how to do so… but they do typically do so. Lol)
Just today, I’d finally had my fill of observing a particular scenario over a period of time: A few people in an office receive a fair amount of flack for various things that it seems others are allowed to do,
with absolutely no recourse. So, when the opportunity presented itself, I made a comment. That comment led to the other person defending those who were being allowed to do these things (most of them have worked there a while together, are social with one another, and so on). She also became rather worked up about my unwillingness to abate my position: If it’s okay for some, it should be okay for all – in general terms anyway. See, I didn’t really care which way it went (all allowed or all disallowed); I just cared that the “rules” be consistently applied to everybody. Could I suffer some repercussion due to the expression of my “moral and ethical compass”? Perhaps. Time will tell. I’d like to think not. I think I’m right and believe most would feel as I do, given the same situation. That’s not always the world we live in, however.
- Think small
Non-leaders tend to think small. This doesn’t always mean “small” as in lack of a greater vision (although true leaders are, as a norm, very big “thinkers” and dreamers); it can merely be not thinking forward enough into the future to see what your actions today may bring you tomorrow. Many people get tangled up in this.
When I was younger, I was fairly quick to say whatever I felt at any given point in time. And, well, I’m pretty quick-witted, with a darn sharp tongue sometimes. There’s no doubt I likely said some sharp, hurtful things. We all start where we are, though, and that’s all the “tools” I had in my “tool belt” at the time to express and deal with things. As I grew (mentally, emotionally, and in years), I acquired more “tools” that afforded me more choices when faced with things. More ways to respond and deal with situations. More “tools” also meant more… bigger… possibilities. More ways to make my bigger thoughts and dreams become reality. Life is defined by whatever it is you think you can do.
So, if you simply adhere to these four things (forget about the plethora of other options available), you’re almost guaranteed to not stand out in a crowd – whether literal, virtual, or proverbial – and you’ll likely have mastered the fine art of…
NOT becoming a leader!
I challenge you to do, be, and become more… greater…