When I speak on the topic of leadership, I always like to start out by highlighting what leadership is and is not. I do this because many people have a misconception about what true leadership actually looks like.
The first thing I always point out is that leadership is not about position. Just because someone occupies a position of leadership does not mean they are leading. In reality, many people have been in a “position” of leadership but have never led a day in their life.
What do I mean? Leaders don’t just occupy positions, they exert influence in order to effect change. They influence people to achieve a common goal. They influence people to deliver excellence. They influence communities and organizations in a way that makes a positive impact. Ultimately, leaders influence by the way that they carry themselves and treat people. They lead by example.
John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” That’s a simple way of looking at leadership, but when you strip it down, that’s what leadership is all about — influencing.
What this also means is that you do not have to be in a formal position of leadership to actually lead–you can influence others where you are now. Do not let your lack of positional authority inhibit your ability to make a difference. You can lead where you are, and you can have a significant impact on the people around you and the organization of which you are a part — that’s leadership.
So instead of focusing on the position you do or do not have, how about focusing on your ability to influence others in a positive and significant way?
“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration.” -Robin Sharma
“Leadership is a choice, not a position.” -Steven Covey
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” -Ronald Reagan
“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another.” -John Maxwell