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If you have to say you are, you aren’t

Being powerful is like being a lady.

If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.

That Margaret Thatcher quote has been roiling around in my brain for the past few weeks. In particular, in relationship to leadership.

imgresIn a chicken-or-the-egg type of quandary - does someone become a leader because their title and responsibilities deem it so, or is one considered a leader based on the actions they take?

My belief is in the latter, with a small dose of the former.

Responsibilities force individuals to rise to the occasion. To realize that their actions – or lack thereof – impact more than themselves. Responsibility for others and their welfare is weighty. And it can make or break those put into leadership positions.

Regardless of your leadership style, I believe the actions you take determine how you are seen by your peers, colleagues and those you hope to lead. Leadership is more about them than you.

You can call yourself whatever you want. But if no one wants to follow you, what kind of leader are you?

In my book, the best leaders I’ve had the honor to spend time with all had elements of the following:

  • An explainable vision 
  • Up, down and sideways respect for those around them
  • A get-in-the-trenches work mentality
  • Approachability
  • Consistency, consistency, consistency
  • And at the end of the day, whether it be good, bad or Armageddon, they showed up.
    Oftentimes, physically being there and providing value and input is one of the quietest yet most effective forms of leading.