Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Title of 'Leader'

When an individual is in a position of power, it is traditional to call them a leader. But does a title necessarily make someone a leader?

The label of leader, when applied to an individual in authority, doesn’t always mean they have great leadership abilities. In business, one’s ascension to a position above their capabilities has become so commonplace that it is almost a proverb.

Perhaps it is not a proverb, but there is a term for it. According to the “Peter Principle,” an organization's members will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability. More commonly phrased, "employees tend to rise to their own level of incompetence."

A title is irrelevant. Leadership qualities do not instantly transfer to the man or woman who ascends to the new role.

The fact is, though, everyone will be called upon to be a leader at some point in their life – and that includes you! In the course of business, in the community, in your home or within your associations, there will come a time when a leader will be needed. What happens when all the eyes turn to you? Will you be ready?

You may be called upon to be the leader in your family when there’s been a crisis, an illness, or maybe just a big decision that affects the whole family. A financial crisis can happen at any time, such as the loss of a job, the loss of major accounts in your business or maybe just a physical accident that causes financial hardship. You may need to be the one to step up as a leader to address the changing situation.

Sometimes being a leader in your community can be a lone voice standing up for what’s right, when the masses want to go the other direction. Everyone has a “community”, and either you’re leading in that community or it’s being led by others. It’s important to know the true qualities of a leader, so you can help determine if you’re leading – or being led – correctly.

What happens when others look to you for the answers, for insights on the next steps to take? What if your family, your company or your community simply needs one person with a good attitude when everyone else around is losing their head? It’s not a title or a position. It is simply the influence of others. And odds are there will be countless times when you are called upon to lead.

The only question is, when YOU are called upon to lead, will you be ready?

My recommendation for further reading on this topic is Mark Sanborn, “You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader.”


  1. I was named as a leader 3 months ago and I must admit that I was prepared, because at the beginning I've also followed a Leadership development training camp.
    There I've learned that a leader should be a communicate and responsible person, ready to do whatever it takes to achieve the company's goals and of course to be determined to succeed.

  2. Hi Chuck,

    Leaders lead with or without title. Leaders are trustworthy and provide immense value to individuals, living life with the servant's mindset. Great question here.

    Sometimes leaders come from the strangest directions. Someone with little power might lead while people with immense power maybe horrible leaders. Your willingness to serve and empower, along with your integrity, makes you a capable leader worth following.

    Thanks Chuck!


  3. I like to say that a leaders is someone who embeds the capacity for achievement in others. This is different than an achiever, or a team leader. Those actions are optimized for now.