He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.
In order to be an effective leader, you have to understand how to motivate, unite and inspire others. What better way to learn that than by experiencing what it’s like to be led? By knowing how it feels to be at the bottom of a managerial chain and take orders from others, you can gain the understanding needed to lead by example.
Good Managers are Leaders–
Not All Good Leaders are Managers
A leader is someone who influences the behavior or actions of others and it isn’t a role reserved just for those in managerial positions. Put another way, leadership is a quality and an attitude, not a job description. While it’s fairly common to find leaders in management positions, you have the opportunity to be a leader no matter what your job is. Managers have subordinates, but leaders have followers. You don’t need to have managerial authority in order to make an impact.
What Makes Someone a Leader?
If you ask people what it takes to be a leader, they might mention subjective qualities like charisma, perseverance, initiative and a sense of responsibility. Or they could list more objective elements, such as setting and meeting goals, delegating effectively and having a vision for the future. All of those skills and qualities are important for leaders to have. But one quality is often missing from these lists and it is arguably the most important: humility.
Leaders who have humility have shown that they can respect, serve and submit to others. They understand that their role as a leader is to serve the organization and its employees and customers. Humility requires self-awareness and openness to the needs and opinions of others. It means looking for ways to serve and add value without wondering how you can benefit from doing so. It means valuing others as much or more than you value yourself. When you do that, you put yourself in a position to serve rather than be served.
What about You?
If you take a look at your own career, are you taking advantages of the opportunities you have to be a leader? Or are you holding back, waiting to show you’re a leader once you have a bigger job title? Do you use your knowledge and influence to solve problems? Or have you convinced yourself that you can’t because you’re not yet in management?
Are you taking the initiative – and the risk – to be a force for positive change?
Do you look for opportunities to serve your company and team without there being something in it for you? Do you look for ways to do something important without becoming self-important?
Are you truly humble?
This guest post was provided by Jessica Edmondson of the University Alliance, a division of Bisk Education, Inc.
Jessica Edmundson | Leading from the Bottom