Untitled Leadership: Being a Leader Regardless of Your Role
By: Ben Rosser, Casualty Claims Examiner, MMG Insurance
One of the greatest myths in most professional industries is the assumption that leadership comes from a job title or position of power. In reality, many of the strongest leaders can be found with no direct reports and no supervisorial duties. Genuine, authentic leaders cannot be bred through promotions or transfers but rather they exist through focused drive and earned trust from their peers.
The most effective and renowned business leaders in the world all started somewhere far below their current paygrade. Far too often young professionals lose sight of the journey required to get to where they want to go and can often become discouraged early in their careers when they become distracted or get tunnel vision on their current role or title.
It is easy to look ahead at that next step, or at that dream promotion and become self-conscious regarding the pace of your career. However, genuine and effective leaders do not need the validation of a job title to succeed in their current roles.
Credible leaders set themselves apart by not only succeeding in what they do but by helping their peers around them share in that success. Having the ability to practice empathy and humility within your team earns their respect and the trust required to succeed. When working together to achieve a common goal remember to not only lend your strengths to the team, but also learn to receive the strengths from the team. This is important because the inability to recognize your own shortcomings and to accept help from others can reduce trust and slow down progress.
In addition to trust, earning respect from your peers goes a long way in becoming a profound leader. Great leaders do not need to become a subject-matter expert in a specific area to earn the respect of their peers. Decisive actions, effective conflict resolution skills, and balancing modesty with confidence are all great practiced traits in earning respect.
In times of uncertainty, people turn to those they trust and respect for guidance on how to conquer what’s at hand. Leaders may not always have the answers, but they will certainly work diligently towards finding one.
Success is a renewable outcome when effectively handled. One person alone cannot sustain ongoing success but when a collective group works together and is fueled by efficacious leadership at all levels, anything can be achieved. Whether it is providing a calming presence in trying times or simply making an extra effort to acknowledge a peer’s job well done, there are many ways to show leadership in any role. Remember that regardless of roles, titles, or paygrades, leaders are important at every level.
In closing, whether you are nearing your peak or just beginning your occupational climb, establish effective and productive behaviors to carry along the way. Stay trustworthy, respectful, focused, empathetic, curious, and driven. Always be the leader that you would be willing to follow.
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