Leaders Use their Attitudes to Define Themselves
In his book The 5 Levels of Leadership, John Maxwell notes that, “Leadership is meant to be active and dynamic. Its purpose is to create positive pain.” Leaders do not allow their titles to define them. They do not become content with their positions because they understand that their mission is to grow and that their personal growth will create positive change. This change is what will make them great leaders because they will be able to inspire those around them with a contagious positive attitude. A more positive outlook will attract the right kind of people who will buy into your vision and have similar goals. Are you the kind of leader who can inspire your team with action or do you have to push to motivate them?
If You Have to Use Your Title, Then Your Title Has No Authority
Maxwell defines the first level of leadership as position. He shares a personal story of a woman he knows named Linda Sasser who wrote him a note about how his work had helped her identify some problems in her organization. She developed a way for ambitious employees to prove their leadership. Sasser has the ambitious employee (let’s call him John) join a team they have never worked with to test John’s leadership skills. He must not use a title of authority to lead the group. John, frustrated with the task, asked after a couple of days, “How can I lead if they don’t know who is the boss?” This is how she knew John was not ready for a promotion because he relied on his position rather than his ability to lead with action. If John has to tell people he is the leader and does not earn the respect of a leader, he is not ready for the responsibility and pressures of management. Ask yourself: Do you lead your team as a contributor who leads with consistent action or as a boss who requests help?
Invest in Human Capital
Human capital is the potential of any person or employee in a company. When a company acquires another company, they can pay up to double the value of each person’s salary. This purchase is an investment in each employee’s potential. When a company pays an employee a salary, they are paying for that employee’s current value, but the education, training, and opportunities are investments in that employee’s growth because they are the most valuable asset of any company. This is the most difficult concept for most bosses, owners, and employees to grasp because they view salaries as paying an employee what they are worth. Paying an employee without any tools to grow is like using your phone to only make phone calls. A phone has the ability to not just call, but text, surf the web, play games, and utilize apps. It is a leader’s job to invest in the personal growth of each and every employee because it will create more value for the company and the employee. The employees will be more likely to buy into the company’s vision and feel like a valued member of the team. For many employees, that means being a part of something great and making a difference. Are you a company that can make a difference?