Bill Anderson of Momentum Coaching & Consulting listening to a client talk about leadership

Who Is A Leader?

“Leader” is a term that is widely distributed these days, but not everyone lives up to that title. Yes there are traits and characteristics of good leaders, but what really defines a leader is her actions. Dee Hock once said, “A leader knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” This is truly eloquent  and truly relevant for anyone who sees themselves in a position of power.

Knows The Way

Leaders must know the way. This means that in order to succeed in a leadership role, you need to be able to possess superior logic skills. Not all of the solutions have a black and white answer, so you must be able to think about things at a very high level. It’s understandable that you may not “know the way” each and every time, but it’s imperative that you are able to find your way there one way or another.

“Knowing the way” sounds so matter of fact, but it’s really not. It’s more about a leader’s ability to reason and make sound decisions when the time comes. Most leaders don’t “know”, but the best ones have the necessary skills to figure it out.

Goes The Way

You should be modeling the behaviour you wish others to follow at all times. It’s not fair to expect a team member to perform at a level that you haven’t yet achieved yourself. When you “go the way” as a leader in your organization you are doing more than just acting as a role model; you are also earning respect. Doing everything in your power to benefit not just your business, but the people around you, builds accountability and trust. When you step up to the plate each and everyday, it inspires those around you to do the same.

Going the way, however, doesn’t mean doing it all yourself. Great leaders also spend time asking and listening; they let go of their egos and help others to move forward as well.

Shows The Way

There is a big difference between being a boss and being a leader. A boss assigns tasks; a leader guides. A boss uses the team to get the job done; a leader utilizes the strengths of the team. A boss knows; a leader shows.

It’s a leader’s job to make sure that her work, her team, her business, and her brand are successful—and you don’t do that by being a one woman show. A strong leader will motivate not only by doing things correctly, but by showing others that they can do things too. Creating an atmosphere of collaboration and support is what differentiates the bosses from the leaders.

Become A Leader

While some great leaders are born, most are made. Leadership takes work, and it’s ongoing process. With the right mindset, some hard work, and dedication, bosses have the potential to become efficient leaders that know the way, go the way, and show the way. Do you have what it takes to make the switch from boss to leader?

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