You Don’t Need A Title To Be A Leader

You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader is a book written by Mark Sanborn.  In the introduction he states that everyone has the opportunity to lead, everyday.  If you work as a professional who is helping others to achieve a better quality of life, then you are exerting positive influence, which he says is leadership.  He also says leaders have a passion for what they do.  So, even if your title isn’t CEO, you might want to take another look at yourself.

What does a leader look like?  Well, it depends on the person.  Here are some things that Sanborn says all successful leaders do:

  • Influence others
  • Lead through relationships
  • Collaborate instead of control
  • Persuade others to contribute
  • Get others to follow out of respect rather than fear

An important point that the author makes is this:  Influence comes from the person, not the position. So regardless of your role in your life, company, or organization – you can lead from where you are.  He states, “When you do your job with initiative and determination, you become a leader.  People who lead strive to make things better.  They consciously exercise their skills, abilities and knowledge to make a difference.”  This pretty much sums up every person I know working in health, fitness, wellness, or allied health.

Sanborn goes on to discuss Six Principles of Leadership.  I won’t get into all of them, but a few things I took away from his principles of leadership that can help anyone, leading from any place in life:

  • He describes self transcendence like this: it is the connecting to something beyond self and helping others find fulfillment and realize their full potential.  This explains what many of my friends and colleagues do on a daily basis working in allied health fields like personal training, physical therapy, and many others.
  • Make time to think and focus on the things you can control.
  • Do you really know what motivates the people who you lead or work with?  Have you ever asked them?
  • Mirror those who are successful around you.
  • Mentor someone else.
  • Integrity is measured between your lips and your life – you’ve got to follow through on your promises.
  • Calling attention to a problem is called complaining.  Solving a problem is harder, it requires leadership.
  • Everything we accomplish happens not just because of our efforts but through the efforts of others.
  • Leadership is power WITH people, not over people.
  • Leaders exude competence by their actions, appearance, in everything they undertake.
  • Confront problems, not people.
  • You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself.
  • The object of communication is understanding.
  • Texans have a saying that describe posers as, “big hat, no cattle”.  I love it!

I would recommend this book by Sanborn.  It is a quick read to anyone looking to develop themselves personally or professionally.  I will leave you with this quote from Henry Ford, who played a significant role in my grandfathers life:

“You cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do”.

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