What it means to be a leader

“Effective leadership requires the trust and belief of those being served. No title or rank in a hierarchy can create this..”

You have to have the natural trust and belief of those you should be serving in order to achieve great things.

True leaders are servants to their people.

True leadership has nothing to do with rank or power. In fact, true leaders are servants to their people. The rigid, hierarchical structures that have been prevalent in organizations for so long make little sense in today’s knowledge economy. When we focus on hierarchical career paths and highlight the “growth” opportunities above us, we are disempowering individuals and simplifying the complex interpersonal dynamics of natural leadership formation.

This simplified model only works in certain circumstances, and often fails in others. For it to persist it requires people to perpetuate and believe in the model, embrace it without question, and make it taboo to question it. Unfortunately, tying people’s compensation to the model means that most people will do exactly that. They will compromise themselves in order to protect their own livelihoods and those of their families.

“True leadership has nothing to do with rank or power. In fact, true leaders are servants to their people.”

As a result, leadership becomes conflated with rank and power and is based on how well an individual plays the game, rather than on whether people trust and want to follow them. The truth is that true leadership has nothing to do with these things. A more natural model would be to invert the traditional organizational diagram, with subordinates on top of leaders, since a true leader’s responsibility is to serve their people, not themselves.

Effective leadership requires the trust and belief of those being served. No title or rank in a hierarchy can create this. True leaders are servants to their people, and their effectiveness is directly tied to the support and trust of those they serve. Without this natural trust and belief, it is impossible to achieve great things. And no amount of gaming an imperfectly structured, contrived system can replace it.

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