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one thing as a leader

A lack of awareness is common when it comes to the perceptions of your followers.  Do they see you as a leader?  This insightful question determines your location on the scale between manager and leader.  You can be the boss and not have followers.  In other words, people can do what you expect and still not consider you as their leader.  Having worked with thousands of supervisors, managers, and executives for over two decades, I have seen one thing move the needle the most when becoming the leader among followers.  This one thing seems to be consistent yet elusive to many on the journey toward the leader.

People falsely consider traits as the primary driver of leadership.  While important, qualities like accountability and adaptability are not what make you the leader to most followers.  Confidence and creativity are also traits that make someone desirable, but not necessarily the leader.  While positive leadership traits exist, they often create the illusion of leadership.  They are the table stakes in the form of expectations from your followers.  They expect specific positive characteristics to be present.  Following are some negative traits that do prevent someone from attaining the position of leadership from the team:

  • You are unwilling to change. How can you improve without changing?  What is the definition of insanity?  I teach leaders to rate subordinates on how much they change the job they perform.
  • You are indecisive. You are slow to make decisions, if at all.  You have a slow decision-making velocity (DMV).
  • You fail to hold yourself and others accountable. Accountability is the ability to count or form an account of what happened.  You rely on and allow excuses to permeate the team.
  • You are apathetic. You lack emotion about the work.  Emotions are contagious, and if you do not enjoy playing the business game, your people will not either.
  • You lack integrity. Keep this simple.  Do what you say and keep your commitments.
  • You communicate poorly. Effective communication takes work and effort.  When you become lazy, your people will notice.

At this point, you should sense something is missing.  The one thing is not entirely clear.  It is not about your style or your desire to become a leader.  The one thing that consistently separates leaders from the herd is simple to conceptualize yet tricky to execute.  If you want to be a leader, become relentless about...

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