I saw this quote on Twitter the other day:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Q Adams
Inspirational quotes are all very well, but I can make this one (as good as it is) even simpler. If people follow you, you are a leader. Whether you want to be or not. You’d be astonished how many people out there are leaders simply because the people following them look to them for answers by default, rather than because they have some sort of crazed lust for power.
And as I’ve discussed in previous posts, leaders aren’t always the ones in positions of legitimised structural authority. Sometimes they’re just another cog in the machine – but if you don’t know who and where they are, you’re wasting a resource. These cogs make things happen around them. I guess in management literature they have proper names for them, like ‘peer influencers’ or something. I don’t do intelligent stuff like that though, I do simple. Leaders is what they are. Where they go, people follow and more gets done.
My theory is that some people are just made that way, though the literature would have us believe that it can be learned as well. I’ve read all the One Minute Manager books, and what struck me about those was that you have to follow all the steps to make it work for you. So if that’s not who you actually are, it’s a lot of things to remember every time you interact with somebody – and mighty distracting too, when you should be focused on the other party and their message rather than working out what you’re going to say next. But here’s some hope for us all … this article about increasing trust. Nice and simple, the essence is – behave with integrity. Be the person you like to think you are, not the person you think others think you ought to be. Visualise it and model that behaviour, and it will become who you are because its what you do.