When you hear the word “leader,” what immediately comes to mind? I have asked that question to audiences and groups countless times. The answers are typically a public figure, a CEO or company president, a famous statesman, an outstanding athlete, and often anyone with a title.
Additionally, these people are frequently mentioned in the press therefore they can be top of mind. Here is what I know to be absolutely true, you could have the title of manager, director, vice president, etc. You can have direct reports, however, these titles would not necessarily make you a leader. Titles are granted, but being a leader is earned. It is earned and given to you by the same people you lead. The people under your sphere of influence. They will grant you permission to lead them when they experience three behaviors from you. Interestingly, these behaviors are the same as what a customer or prospective customer is asking. Here they are:
- Do you care about me?
- Can I trust you?
- How will you help me?
The first two, care and trust, are an issue of your character, how will you help is an issue of your competence. We always must remember that PEOPLE JOIN PEOPLE AND LEAVE PEOPLE. So the question remains How do you demonstrate care and trust?