THE UNTITLED LEADER
The evolution of time has brought us to a stage where leadership has ceased to be a choice but a charge. It has become a major responsibility for each and every one of us at any level. It does not matter what level you are in an organization or what level your business is when it comes to being a leader. According to Robin Sharma, “leaders are those individuals who do the things that failures aren’t willing to do–even though they might not like doing them either.” A leadership title does not have to be conferred on you before you proceed in doing the things that should be done or the ones that no one has been delegated to do. True leadership without a title requires willingness, self-independence and foresight. Even more importantly is the possession of the attribute of being quick to observe detail and the calm spirit to manage chaos. Being a leader without a title is a responsibility you must own for yourself, a charge that you take up to make yourself proud before anyone else. It is a mindset and a culture that must be inculcated into your being.
Some of the challenges that may arise from taking on such a journey will come from the limitations you place on yourself. Most people do not feel worthy of a state or a position without endorsement or nomination from a person of higher standing. But in self-leadership, you have to be your number one fan. Once you make the decision to form deeper relationships by engaging the people in your life, work and business space more comprehensively, they would begin to appreciate your stance as a self-made leader. It will be unrealistic to expect that the people who notice your shine in your own corner will not raise concerns and call you names. That however is a sign that you are working diligently and the fruits of your labour are manifesting in reality.
Another challenge you may deal with is the courage to stand up and speak out for the things that you believe in. More often than not, individuals who are not appointed as leaders mute their voices and develop into yay-sayers with every suggestion and proposition made. To be a leader you must be able to decide for yourself first, before deciding for a group of people who look up to you. Your business and your work are as great as yourself and the people you surround yourself with. The battle with your feelings will be tempestuous and getting things done will not be a cake-walk, but in life, success is measured by the things you get done.
One thing that is clear in this modern age is that, being a leader without a title has evolved into a primarily ‘soft skills’ focus. Mastery of key principles of the soft approach to leadership can transform the way we implement the charge. Leadership is a unique mental approach to the way things are done. The details that make a successful leader are not so much about the technical skills. The thing that sets you apart as a leader are the very soft attributes that sets you apart from the flock. One of these soft skills is being relatable. Every leader manages a human following. Aside being likable as a leader, your story and approach to solving problems and expressing opinions should be relatable. Relatability ensures that you have a strong connection with your following because they understand and believe in your way of life.
Another pertinent skill you must possess is that of growth. One of the hallmarks of every great leader is the evidence of a multiplication of people with traits and values that have molded other people into the fullness of their own greatness. You truly cannot give what you do not have. To be a self-made leader, having in mind that you are being watched, you must grow yourself. It is up to you to inspire yourself, influence yourself and impact yourself. The task of investing into your self-leadership involves a lot more than believing in yourself. It may require that you set for yourself tough goals and push beyond boundaries. It may require that you do things to surprise your own abilities and inspire your mind to achieve more. Each day, you must ask yourself, “what can I do today to inspire myself, influence my craft and impact my environment?” Lastly, you must be bold with your behavior. Your behavior and your character affect your relationships and your craft. Your leadership goes as far as your relationships and your delivery. If you cannot dive in deep and form solid relationships, you will fail at engaging your network and making an impact. To develop and be bold with your behavior, you must stay conscious of the things you say, the way you work and the people you occupy.
“Great leaders do not set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role – always about the goal.”
To take on the charge of self-leadership, I would like to share with you 4 practical focal points you can look at to begin your transformational journey:
The greatness of every leader begins with the reputation they carve out for themselves. On this journey, you must start with yourself. You must be your own follower and leader. Lead yourself from within. Once you manage to become holistic in the field of your life, love and labor, others would trust you to lead them to achieve better in their lives. You must be passionate about your well-being and being the best version of yourself. Daily move past your mental limitations and your physical boundaries and charge yourself to do the things no one else will do.
- Robin Sharma also discusses the essence on establishing strong relationships through being HUMAN. You must be helpful, understanding, having the expertise to mingleand be amusing and lastly the heart and soul to nurture the people in your space as true friends, business partners and followers in your tribe. “The Deeper your relationship, the stronger your leadership. No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or to get all the credit for doing it” – by Andrew Carnegie
- Simon Sinek said: “The real job of a leader is not about being in charge but taking care of the people in our charge.” As a leader, it is required of you to be empathetic. Your leadership is as good as the well being of your following. There is a great sacrifice that constitutes the requirements of leadership. Your responsibility is to make the people around you be themselves. The gem of your followership can only be realized when they are their true selves and let that shine through their deliverables. Empathy requires that you are concerned about the human being and not just their output. It is hence your responsibility on this journey to care for yourself first and not just the quality of your output. If you can begin to care for yourself, you would be able to do that for other people in your space.
Ambiguous and conflicting definitions of leadership have confounded leadership scholars and practitioners for over 100 years. Leadership is a phenomenon that has been widely debated, prolifically researched, and extensively discussed in the literature, yet its meaning remains elusive. It has been examined in terms of the traits of leaders, the behaviors of leaders, the situations leaders face, the values of the leader, the context in which leadership occurs, and a number of other ways (Yukl, 2006). But true leadership takes its own shape and form from the person who is leading. What you see as a leader is not what everyone else will also see and appreciate. Your perspective on things sometimes makes the difference because you are not thinking like everyone else. Embrace your perspectives and look to understand that of others. Having a wholesome viewpoint of any situation will always lay the foundation to make better, bolder choices.
The charge of leadership is a self-transforming journey. Whether you are called by the title of a leader or not, you may find that there is a fueling energy in you that pushes you to take up responsibilities and roles that may not even be your own. Called by the name of a leader or not, you must not shy away from the core of your being. Take the charge and act. Focus on building intangible skills such as decision making because leadership is a test of character. “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” – Douglas MacArthur.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017. She has also been featured on CNN.
She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org and @dzigbordi across all social media platforms.