Being an effective leader takes many qualities: honesty, integrity, vision, intelligence, experience, charisma and many more. Most aspiring leaders are fully aware of their need to possess these characteristics and base their actions upon them.
But, many new business leaders are unprepared for some of the harsh realities that come with their positions of authority. Below are three things every leader must understand if he wants to be effective in his position.
1. A Title Does Not Make One a Leader
Business consultant and bestselling author John C. Maxwell said it best: “Leadership is influence — nothing more and nothing less.”
To be effective, leaders need more than a title or a position of authority in their organization. Leaders need to have influence with the people who they are attempting to lead. If a leader cannot influence the actions of his team, then he or she will soon be out of a job.
How does one become more influential? There are many factors that can contribute, but it basically comes down to earning the trust and respect of those who are being led.
2. Job Competence Does Not Make One a Leader
Many companies have experienced something similar to the following scenario.
A worker in the company is excellent at her job. She has mastered the skills needed to perform her duties, and she is better at the job than anyone else in her department. As a result, she ends up getting promoted to a position in management — and that’s when things go downhill.
Effective leadership takes more than just competence on the job. Leadership requires a whole different set of skills and attributes. A leader must possess good social skills. A leader must be able to share her vision for what the team is trying to accomplish. A leader must instill a sense of ownership in her team and inspire them to higher levels of achievement. A leader must bring out the best in her subordinates.
3. Personal Ambition Does Not Make One a Leader
Many business leaders seem to be more concerned about their career path than they are about the advancement of their company goals or the development of their team. That is not a recipe for success in leadership.
A leader needs to place his or her own personal ambitions aside and focus on priorities outside of themselves. It is not enough to simply push hard and move up the ladder. Leaders must place the success of others ahead of their own personal success.
This doesn’t mean that effective leaders won’t achieve personal success. Rather, the opposite is usually true. The best leaders are selfless in executing their duties, in leading their teams to greater achievements and in acknowledging the value of others.
To succeed in business as a leader, one must accept some harsh realities such as the ones described above. Effective leadership is more than a title or position. It is a commitment to lift others up and to influence others in the quest to achieve organizational goals. Accepting these truths will give one a much better chance of not only being promoted into positions of leadership, but in succeeding in those positions as well.