Titles don’t matter to true leaders. True leaders do not lead from their title but rather by their actions. They lead by the decisions they make and how they make them. They lead by including others and by getting broad input. They embrace others who may disagree with them and seek to learn from their views. They accept responsibility for both good and bad. They delegate authority to act rather than tasks. They help those around them learn and grow. They surround themselves with the smartest people they can find and are not worried if they are not the smartest person in the room. They are not afraid to admit their mistakes and learn from them.
Whenever someone makes a decision and justifies the decision by reminding people that their title gives them the authority to make that decision, then one knows that they do not have the support of the organization. They also are admitting that they have little confidence in their own decision if they have to use their title to back it up as opposed to making a compelling case based upon logic and the facts at hand.
Another characteristic of leaders that I have noticed over the years is that they usually introduce themselves without a lot of fanfare. I once heard a company founder and president introduce himself by saying: “I’m with ABC Company”. It was a very modest introduction given his role and ownership stake. I personally learned the value of this approach during my tenure at LensCrafters. I had introduced myself as “one of the finance guys” to a new employee. As I stepped into the next cubicle to talk to someone else, I could overhear the conversation that followed. A long time employee laughed at the modesty of my introduction and went on to explain the scope of my team’s role in the company. It was a much more glowing description than I would have ever given myself.
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