#82 If You Want to be a Leader, Don’t Do This

want to be a leader

It seems logical: leaders should have the answers and be right when they speak. If you want to be a leader, then challenge this logic and help yourself avoid a common leadership mistake.

What is Leadership?

Getting work done through other people.

Guiding people to uncover the answers for themselves.

Bringing out the best in your people.

Building teams.

Hiring stellar candidates.


Aligning a team toward a common goal.

Building relationships.

Not forcing productivity when you (or others) are not productive.

Improving communication skills.

This is a lot of responsibility! And it’s not even the full list of leadership requirements. Assuming you want to be a leader, the last thing I want to do is scare you out of it. Because like it or not, you are a leader!

Like it or Not, You are a Leader

While the powers that be may insert your name and title into a fancy org chart, for a moment I will ask you to dismiss this ritual.

An org chart, with all its titles and glory, can act as a convenient snapshot of your status. It can also be interpreted as a tool of intimidation.

If we erase the org chart concept and forgot about your official title for a moment, what you are left with are job duties. In the absence of an org chart, focus on your assigned job responsibilities.

Your employer depends on you to get your stuff done. As an employee, you have be chosen to lead this position, whatever it may be called. Colleagues need your services. Customers rely on you for answers. Management looks to your efforts and solutions in the name of achieving business objectives.

Others are dependent on you to perform your job, generate results, solve problems, make presentations, communicate your findings, support other roles, use good judgment, and work with different personalities.

In so many ways, you are a leader over the responsibilities that have been bestowed upon you. Regardless of your status on the org chart.

If you want to be a leader… the great news? You already are.

Avoid This Pitfall

Leadership isn’t necessarily about being right or wrong. I repeat: leadership is about so much more than being right or wrong.

I have coached many people who have regrets about “not speaking up.” People tell me they’re afraid to speak up unless they’re absolute certain they are 100% right. Managers are afraid to chime in or verbalize their ideas without having all the necessary information. They remain silent and hoard valuable information as they think this practice will save their reputation.

Leadership is not always about being right or wrong. If you want to be a leader, speak up and provide direction.

Allow your voice to be heard because leadership is also about:

  • Starting conversations in a space that lead to creativity
  • Paving a clear path to remove uncertainty – allowing employees to direct their energies accordingly
  • Setting the tone to guide others in some direction

Directionless employees are not conducive to you, your team or the business.

If you want to be a leader, do not chronically forsake silence in the name of wanting to be right.

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