During my many years in corporate America, I worked for some great leaders. Sometimes I didn’t even work on their team, yet I still would have gone the extra mile if they had asked. But I’ve also known and worked for some horrible leaders. Those that used a very hierarchical approach and ended every other conversation with “I’m the boss so do what I say”. Years later, there are still leaders that feel this is an effective way to lead.
I learn from both good leaders and bad leaders.
There’s an opportunity to learn from both. For people who are aspiring to be leaders, that’s an important concept. We can waste a lot of energy getting frustrated with bad leaders. I say, ‘use that energy to learn from that leader about how not to lead’.
This mind shift led me to come up with this concept of entitled leaders—leaders in title only. Just because you have a title of manager, director, or even CEO, doesn’t mean that you have earned the privilege of leading people. People might follow you because you’re their boss, but they’re not necessarily going to go above and beyond unless they want to follow you.
At best, entitled leaders are just that: leaders in title only.
At worst, entitled leaders drive away high performance and exceptional talent. No one wants to think they are an entitled leader. After all, it’s hard work earning a promotion and managing new responsibilities. So, what can be done to become more effective and more authentic?
I’ve studied the patterns of highly effective leaders for decades and came up with seven key disciplines of Authentic Leaders:
• Self-Leadership: Authentic Leaders continuously learn and grow, effectively prioritize their work, and follow through on commitments to themselves.
• Vision: Authentic Leaders create a shared vision with the team and use it as a tool to get the most important work done.
• Goals: Authentic Leaders effectively leverage goals to create a sense of urgency and to set the team up for success.
• Decision Making: Authentic Leaders strategically shift decision-making to team members while simultaneously increasing trust among team members.
• Communication: Authentic Leaders listen patiently and know when and how to speak persuasively.
• Delegation & Accountability: Authentic Leaders delegate strategically and use clear systems to hold team members accountable.
• Relationships: Authentic Leaders invest in building professional relationships with team members rooted in respect and trust.
Authentic Leaders are predictable, clear, and confident in their interactions with teams and how they operate when no one is looking. They lead in a way that people want to follow them.