What is interesting about the title “leader” is that you don’t get that title unless you are leading a team, an organization or a company. By definition, it means that you have others who are following you. Although there are some companies out there trying the concept of not having formal leaders in place, this is still evolving and it may only work for certain types of companies. In my opinion, being a leader is really one of the greatest experiences that you will ever have. So why is it important? You have the responsibility to develop a team of people to help them reach their goals, their potential and you get to create future leaders just like you. A leader has the unique challenge of being the face of the organization to their team. This can be great when things are going well, but you also have to remain composed when things are in a state of great change. You need to be strategic and drive the future of where the team is going, but you also need to be tactical to get the administrative things done too.
The other thing that is important about being a leader is that you learn so much about yourself. As a leader, you are challenged every single day. Some days you will have big decisions to make, many interruptions, presentations to sell ideas, hiring new team members, meetings with your team, peers, and managers. What I always enjoyed about it was the variety of each day and knowing that no one day would be exactly like the next. I liked knowing I was making a difference to help another person be successful. I made mistakes along the way and figured out how to do things differently the next time. I learned that is was okay to ask for help and identified mentors that helped me when I wasn’t sure how to deal with a situation. I learned how to manage people differently based on their style and not my own. I learned how to be a good listener and ask a lot of questions. I found that the majority of people are going to make mistakes along the way and how you respond to that as the leader will say more about you than anything else. Choose to see that they acted with positive intent and use the situation to coach them to see that doing it differently next time will bring them more success. Think about the legacy that you want to leave behind and set a great example for those around you. As the old saying goes “people don’t leave organizations, they leave managers.” I believe this to be very true. Be a leader who is worthy of having followers.
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