Lead Yourself First

Many aspire to leadership and that is a good thing, but what is leadership? 

  1. Leadership is not management: managers enforce; leaders inspire. 
  2. Leadership is not a title: regardless of your title or position, you can demonstrate leadership.
  3. Leadership is not self-serving: true leaders serve and support, not the other way around, and they try to bring out the best in their teams.
  4. Leadership is not short-sighted: leaders are visionaries who keep the bigger picture in mind, and sometimes make hard decisions to get there.
  5. Leadership is not easy: be ready to work hard, fight for what you believe in and for your people, and willing to do it alone.
  6. Leadership is not for everyone: know yourself and if this would play to your strengths or not.

As I was finishing Alison Levine's book On the Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership, and seeing more examples of how true leaders act in life-and-death situations, what leadership is and is not became more clear. 

So what is leadership? The ability for someone to get you from point a to z, make you feel that you were a part of the process the entire way and are better for having taken that journey with them. Leaders inspire. They stand for something so strongly that they make their vision your own.

But as Alison points out, we all have to first be leaders of our own expedition. How can we inspire others if we do not have our own credo that we are willing to live by? How can we earn trust and loyalty if we do not follow-through on what we promised and stand for? 

What is the credo of a true leader you know? What is your credo?


Karina is VP of Operations and HR at 24/7 Teach.

Originally posted on Business Common Sense blog.

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