Are You a Leader or Just a Title?

By Robin Stevens, Internal Operations Coach

My niece and her family from Arizona were here visiting over the weekend and I got to spend some time with their daughter who is 1 year old. She was very bright for her age and you could actually see her observing everything going on around her, she was a little sponge. As we played with some new toys it was amazing to see her follow my lead with every move and look to me when she needed more direction.

This was a great reminder to me about what it means to be a role model/leader both personally and professionally.

You’ve heard the saying “do as I say, not as I do”. As a leader we set the example for what is acceptable within our organizations. Regardless of what rules are buried in the handbook it starts with you. It starts from the first day of employment. As a leader you are the one who projects the values of the company and yourself. If your company core values are centered on service and teamwork you must make sure your actions are in line with these specific values so they are clear to your team.

It is the hope that each day every team member gives100% and does their job to the best of their abilities. However, the reality is that this is another area where people tend to look at the quality of work and standards set by leaders. It’s important to remember that other people in your organization see your work ethic. Take your own projects and duties seriously and execute them the way you want your team members to. As a leader, if you keep making excuses for your lack of accountability so will your team because you are teaching them that it’s alright in your culture to fall short and not take responsibility.

Just because you are a leader does not mean you operate under a different set of guidelines than your team. When you come in late, take long lunches, leave early often and let tasks go by the way side you just become someone who holds a title in the company instead of a true leader.

A team will follow a leader who is accountable, trustworthy and who communicates not just the overall direction, but all information the team needs to be successful and skillful in carrying out their responsibilities.

So ask yourself this question, as a leader, are you performing your responsibilities in the same manner you require from your team? If not, why?

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