Traditional thinking would have you believe you need a title to be considered a leader. Conventional thinking is wrong. A title doesn't make a leader; your actions do.
In my book, Building the Best, I define a leader as: "someone whose actions inspire, empower, and serve in order to elevate others over an extended period of time."
People who live out this definition don't wait for a title -- and acting this way isn't reserved for the select few. Being a leader is for you, because when your actions inspire, empower, and serve others, not only will the performance of the people around you go up, your own performance will too.
Research done by the Global Leadership Forecast over the last eight years has seen the continued slippage in leadership as a bench strength. In 2018, only 14 percent of companies had a strong bench, the lowest number the study has ever seen. Not only are these scary numbers, but it makes it even more critical for you to take personal responsibility for the development of your leadership skills.
There’s a substantial difference between the title of “manager” and the actions of a leader; one is vastly more important than the other in today’s business environment. Therein is why much of the primary roles of a manager can be automated and replaced by technology. On the other hand, there has never been a more important time in our history to be a leader.
The business environment we work in is more competitive and has more challenges than ever before. One leader and a group of managers in an organization is yesterday’s way of thinking. What’s required today is an army of leaders at every level of an organization. One’s that are driven by rejecting the notion that their job is all about themselves and instead focus on elevating others.
If you are going to make the transition from manager to leader it will require a lot of hard work and effort. It isn’t going to happen overnight because leadership is a journey and not a destination. But like all important transitions, it starts with choices and habits.
My friend, Amber Selking, defined a habit on the Follow My Lead Podcast as "something you do so often it becomes the very essence of your being." There is a simple 3-second habit you can implement to move towards a leader mentality, it's what I refer to in Building the Best as the "PTS Method."
PTS stands for “Prepare to Serve.” The method is simple, anytime you change your environment, you say to yourself, “prepare to serve.”
When you walk in the house each night before you open the door say, “prepare to serve.”
When you walk into the office each day before you open the door say, “prepare to serve.”
When you get ready to walk into a team meeting, say to yourself, “prepare to serve.”
The simple habit of transforming your mind to thinking about others and serving them will be reflected in your actions. While there are many skills and competencies to develop in order to help your transition from manager to leader, this is the simplest and most effective one I know.
What do you do to help you keep the mindset of a leader instead of a manager?
Elevate the Way You Lead: Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success is published by McGraw-Hill and debuted as a #1 New Release. Learn the stories, principles, and tools to help elevate the way you lead.
About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.
John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College.