“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another.” ~John C. Maxwell – Author, Speaker and Pastor
I have many titles – President, Executive Recruiter, Certified Executive, Business & Career Coach, Certified Professional Resume Writer, Mom, Taxi Cab Driver, Cat Lover, etc. How many titles do you have? I think if I really listed all of mine I would fill up this entire blog.
For me, it is rare that I ever mention my title. I usually tell someone at a networking event or at a friend’s party what I do or am interested in versus what my title is. It always amazes me when someone introduces themselves with their name and title. “I am John Smith, CEO of ABC Corp.” What does that really tell me about the person? That they think very highly of themselves and expect me to do the same? If anything, I find it a turn off.
So I guess another title I can give myself is “People Perceptor”. The latter word is not even a true word but you get my point. When I am coaching someone who is not an effective conversationalist, I tell them to talk to anyone they can even if it is at a store or the gym. I explain to them that you can learn something from everyone you meet – some good teachings and also how not to behave and/or speak. I have them try to figure out how the other person wants to interact – some are quick and to the point while others like to spend the time chit chatting a bit. Some are warm and engaging from the start. Others are a bit more reserved. Some are downright arrogant. The interesting thing is that these people all influence us in some way so it is important to determine who are the ones we want to lead us, who are the ones we want to lead, and who are the ones we want to stay as far away from as possible.
We also have to understand that others will react to us in the same way so we need to admit when we are not being our true self. We may be having a bad day or have received some sad news. Effective leaders are not only humble but also show their human side (within reason). Their mission is to help others by supporting them and serving as their cheerleaders. They also can advise and counsel but they do it in such a way that they empower others.
If you are interested in having “leader” as one of your titles, remember not to tell others but show it in your actions. You will be much more impressive and convincing if you do it that way. Try it and see how it goes. Reassess and then try again. You may need to modify your leadership style depending on the person’s and organization’s wants and needs but in the long run, it will be well worth it.