Leadership is not something you’re given, its something you take

by Jeff Hilimire on February 2, 2012

A leader doesn’t have to be told that they’re the leader. I can’t stress this enough.

Too many people think that they have to be told that they’re a leader before they start acting like one.

A common definition of leadership is:

Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.

That’s a good enough definition. No where in there does it say, “because someone told the individual that they were the leader.” Yet that’s how most people view leadership.

“Well I’m not the manager.”

“I was never put in a position to make that decision.”

“I’m not his boss.”

“That’s your job.”

“My title doesn’t have ‘manager’ in it.”

A few weeks back, there was a controversy on the Washington Wizards basketball team. The team from all vantage points wasn’t playing very hard and their record and results were reflecting that.

One of their bench players, a guy that hardly ever plays, had enough and let the entire team have it. His basic message, “If you don’t want to play hard, then get off this team.”

The reason this was a controversy was because this guy wasn’t a star. He wasn’t even a starter. We’re used to the Michael Jordan’s and the Tom Brady’s being the outspoken leader, the one to kick everyone in the butt and rally the troops.

A lot of people were critical of this guy, saying he wasn’t qualified to call anyone out because he can’t even get in the game. Everyone else is out there competing and he’s just riding the bench.

But that’s a load of bullsh&t.

Anyone on a team can step up on a be a leader. Anyone on a team has the right to call people out, to demand better, to speak their mind.

In fact, they say when Tom Brady got his shot in his first real game, even though he was essentially a nobody, he commanded the offense from the first snap. He didn’t wait until he proved himself to speak up.

Final point: The best way to become a leader…is to become a leader.

Do you want to rise through the ranks at your company? To be recognized as a leader and put in a leadership position? Then start leading. Today. Don’t wait for permission.

Begin the begin.

  • http://www.concepthubinc.com Sherry Heyl

    The strongest point I align with in this post is that you can be a leader without being in a leadership position or rising through the ranks. Many times in my career I was recognized as a leader and offered the positions but turned them down. I was leading my own career at my own pace and did not need a title to take the lead when there was a need. 

  • Badass Guest

    Having confidence and being in an environment where having a voice is welcomed, fostered and appreciated helps leaders emerge and develop.

    That is a terrible sentence.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    LOL, that IS a terrible sentence, but you’re right. Your ability to step up and lead is certainly influenced by the work environment and culture. Good points.

  • http://twitter.com/laurieinseattle Laurie

    Thank you for reminding me that being a leader, and having a
    title aren’t mutually exclusive. This helped me regain much needed perspective.

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