Being a leader is not about a fancy title or a corner desk. It’s about taking the responsibility to grow other people. It’s about being passionate about initiating change. Having the balls to make decisions and take responsibility for the outcomes.
When I was still a system administrator, I never thought I was a leader. I was helpful and genuinely interested in resolving other people’s problems. I never thought I could be one of those great, important, managers who I reported to or walked past in the corridor.
However moving into a proper team leader role changed all that. Once I realised the responsibility that came with my newly acquired position, I took the initiative to learn more about what it means to be a leader. What happened next, I didn’t expect.
I discovered my true passion – growing people.
Being able to initiate ideas to show my team that they can be more than what they are, then seeing them go and do it. Seeing my team (and even others) go on to achieve great things inspires me further to help the ones still around me.
As I delve further into my life purpose, I realise that being a leader is about helping everyone. Those that are struggling and need some guidance, as well as the high performers to help them continue on their highway of achievements.
What I also realised, is that you don’t need to be in a leadership role to guide others. You are a leader already. When someone comes to ask your opinion on a particular topic, they respect you enough to seek guidance from you. When your management ask you to run with high profile tasks, they believe you have the ability.
Yes, that does mean you are a leader. You’re just leading in different ways, more subtle ways.
Have the balls
One of the first times I realised the importance of making hard decisions was during an extremely high profile system failure. I realised I couldn’t hide anymore. I couldn’t escalate to my own leader. I couldn’t simply stick my head in the sand until someone else took care of the situation.
On that day, I accepted the challenge. I stood strong, faced the crisis, took control, and we got through it pretty well. One important aspect I believe a leader must have is to be calm in the face of danger. A leader must filter the critical mass from the crap and pass only the relevant information to his team.
There have been a few more tough times since that first emergency. There have also been a few other types of challenges that I have had to adapt to. But that is the nature of this very blog. It’s all about growing and changing when the time calls for it.
You can do the same. Yes, it’s scary – I was nervous as hell (I still am a lot of the time). But the great thing is it gets easier every time. You gain valuable experience, the situation isn’t as scary the next time, and even less scary the time after that. Each time you’re in a similar situation, you can make better decisions. With better decisions, you become more comfortable.
When you’re more comfortable, try challenge yourself with different situations. Try to find that nervousness. The nervousness means you’re out of your comfort zone – that’s a good thing.
The more you are outside of your comfort zone, the more you are learning, growing, changing…
How are you leading others through helpfulness and decisions you’re making?
[Featured image: Kumar Appaiah]