Along with over 4 million others on LinkedIn, I follow “Leadership First” to get uplifting messages and daily reminders of what it takes to be a good leader.
Recently, I was struck by a quote from Brian Tracy—“Become the kind of leader who people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.”
The line made me think of the different managers and leaders I’ve had in my career—those who motivated me to be my best by their words and actions, and those whose inaction put them in the ‘leadership by title only’ bucket.
It may come as no surprise that the leaders who gained my highest respect shared purpose, and showed I mattered to them and the organization.
…spoke to me as an adult, a professional.
…explained the company’s needs, specific goals, and vision. We all have a job to do, and if the leader is completely transparent, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and do my part.
…embraced a “we” philosophy. The second I was made to feel ‘less than’ by a leader who only spoke of “management deciding this” and “management doing that,” I knew my experience and opinions didn’t matter.
…asked, “What can I do to help?” Collaborating on strategic thinking. Helping get the “yes” internally by working with other departments. Picking up the phone to reach out to business owners to let them know they were involved. Those leaders showed they had skin in the game and wanted to help me win.
…took time to pause and celebrate the wins and behaviors that lead to wins. Kudos for big wins are easy, yet just as motivating is to get a short text, email, or especially a hand-written note around good selling behaviors.
…kept up with me on a personal/professional level about how my son’s team did at his basketball tournament or if my daughter made the JV tennis team. I felt seen. That’s when I’m reminded that the leader I’m following is someone who sees me and sees why I want to succeed … not only for myself but for them.
I hope these traits sound familiar as you’ve been led by someone with them. And I hope this article serves as inspiration to (continue) doing these things yourself. The health and growth of your team is your biggest priority.
Without ‘manager’ in your title, would your team still want to follow you?