A good friend of mine asked a great question about leadership. He observed that everyone in the organization responds to him with generosity and kindness. He goes to lunch with them. He shares parenting stories and personal struggles with them. Everything seems like it is going well. So, he asked:
How do I know if other people are actually following me?
That is a very insightful question, and I candidly struggled to give him a good answer. Leadership is not a “have IT” or “don’t have IT” type characteristic. It’s more about asking how much “of IT” do I have?” If leadership is measured on a scale of 1 to 10, a 5 will follow a 6…but a 7 will not follow a 6.
It is probably a better question to ask “Who is following me?” Here are some thoughts that I’ve come up with so far to answer that question.
- You may be leading if…In meetings where opinions differ, your ideas gain traction in the group discussions. You can see that others in the group move away from their ideas and move towards your ideas (voluntarily and not because of your position).
- You may be leading if…You ask people for help and they lean in to assist you in spite of the untimeliness and bother. If they wait until it’s convenient, they probably don’t see you as a leader.
- You may be leading if…Other people come to you with questions and advice about their projects. They seek your opinion and affirmation.
Can you improve this list? How do you know if you are leading others in the organization. I would like to hear from you.
Thanks for listening.