Leadership is Not a Position
Someone asked me this morning what makes a good leader? I thought for a moment and replied; “I have worked with great and not so great leaders. The difference is a great leader doesn’t have the need to be recognized as great.”
I then relayed a story about a senior manager who told me how he’d been having trouble with some folks in his organization. He was going to have a meeting with them and invited the district manager to attend. When the manager arrived at the room where the meeting would be held he found the district manager arranging the chairs in a circle for the participants. The senior manager stopped him and said he should be recognized, seated, placed among the the others in such a way they would see and know he’s in charge.
I remember listening to this manager as he shared this story with a sense of triumph and pride in his voice. However, all I could think is; “a leader doesn’t need special positioning to be recognized as great.”
The great leaders I’ve known and admire are humble, sit wherever there’s a seat, are as comfortable listening as speaking. They don’t dominate every conversation, are open to contrary opinions and aren’t threatened by the talents and gifts of others. They don’t desire a particular parking spot, the corner office or their name on a sign. They instill purpose not pressure, harness the passions of their team not harass those serving with them, embrace the strengths of others and are not envious of those who do some things better.
Great leaders see their position on a team as a blessing not a right and an opportunity to make others and themselves better.