I lost one of my managers a couple of years ago, and I can’t seem to forget him or the legacy he left behind. He was one of my earliest examples of true leadership.
I had a family emergency and before I could finish explaining to him the situation. He said, “And you are still standing here talking to me? Why aren’t you out the door yet? I’ll cover for you.” I smiled then went to my desk, took my belongings and left. Thereafter, he had my full commitment.
Titles Don’t Make Leaders—Actions Do – How to lead with influence instead of authority:
- Integrity & Authenticity go hand in hand. Joseph was honest with employees even though this trait was sometimes unpopular with top management. He often took the slack for his team. If leadership is not authentic, then what is it?
- Humility. True leaders always aim to serve rather than be served. Being humble makes you more approachable to your followers and allows you to create an environment of open communication and more effective feedback.
- Empathy plays a critical role in one’s ability to be a successful leader. It sharpens your “people acumen” and allows leaders to develop and maintain relationships with those they lead. Leaders that possess this trait genuinely care about people.
- Communication Skills – Great leaders are able to communicate their vision in such a way that motivates their team. They are great communicators; quick to listen and slow to speak. They possess high emotional intelligence skills.
- Inspiration- Joseph didn’t need a title to get us to complete tasks. He had our full support. Words such as “Good work team,” “You are the best”, “I trust your judgement” were at the top of his dictionary. Team spirit was high during his reign.
“ Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example .” – Cory Booker
Sadly, Joseph people-first approach did not sit well with top management. Eventually he was removed from his position, and transferred to a back office function. They took away his job title but they could not remove his title as a “leader”. We still kept in contact with him.
Managers are forgotten, but leaders live on in the hearts and minds of their followers long after they have gone. Sometimes I can still picture Joseph walking through the office, greeting staff on mornings. Those were the special moments I still hold dear. It doesn’t take much to create those special moments with your team. Being a leader is caring about others and wanting the best for them. It’s about empowering and encouraging employees to reach their full potential. True leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders. If you want to leave a legacy, invest in people.