Leading Without a Position – Dr. Kinyanjui Nganga
If you’ve been thinking you are a leader, but nobody seems to recognize you as such, you have an atypical problem. Either those around you don’t see you as a leader or you’ve been having a wrong assessment on who you are. There is no such a thing as leadership without followership.
Strange that we have people who teach on leadership and they lead nobody? Leadership isn’t about your rhetoric; it’s about your actions. Leadership might begin with vision casting, but it’s delivering the vision that will ultimately determine your success as a leader.
True leaders get stuff done, with or without titles. They consistently exceed expectations. They take personal and corporate responsibility. The reward of leadership is not a status symbol but results. Nations rise and fall on leadership and so do families and individuals. Leadership cannot be given, it is earned. Leadership cannot be taken away; it is lost on account of non-performance.
Leadership begins with personal awareness. Personal leadership. Personal leadership is aligning your values with your purpose. Living in a manner that your life and your words are congruent. You can’t lead others where you’ve never been. That’s why leadership is not about titles and positions but influencing others towards a worthy course.
Leaders identify challenges and needs in the community and initiate change. Change has changed. Traditionally, societal change was initiated by those who wielded power. Today’s change is driven by the most unlikely candidates – leaders of the 21st Century. In the current knowledge era, change changes rapidly. The playing field is level – leadership.
Leaders don’t coerce performance through trickery or skulduggery. True leaders don’t just focus on the bottom line but also on people development – leaving no man/woman behind. Position leaders abuse influence and confuse manipulation with leadership. Position leaders may win a few battles, but eventually, they lose the war.
If you lost your current corporate position, who would follow you? What in you would anyone under God’s heaven follow?
Let me share with you 4 key differences between “position” leaders and “true” leaders:-
- Position leaders are insecure – Position leaders fear exposing their ignorance. They criticize success. They are not knowledge seekers. True leaders develop their coaching skills. True leaders never graduate from learning. They recognize their inherent need for continuous personal growth and development. You can’t give what you don’t have.
- Position leaders destroy talents – Due to inner insecurity, position leaders are threatened by the success of the team they lead. They ‘cut’ them to size. On the contrary, true leaders make it easier for others to get things done. True leaders help others succeed. They are attracted by talent and they develop and retain talent. True leadership serves as a talent magnet – not a talent repellent.
- Position leaders never give credit – Position leaders ride on peoples’ backs. They love praise, sycophancy and adoration. True leaders allow others to shine. True leaders give due compliments generously. True leaders are team players; they create room for others to develop. True leaders only use “I” when accepting responsibility for failures. They use “we” when referring to successes.
- Position leaders are process conscious NOT people conscious – Position leaders are more concerned with ‘position retention.’ They will follow the set rules to the core even when it is illogical to follow them. True leaders recognize that leadership is about people. They believe in their team. They develop social intelligence. They bank on persuasion and mutual understanding, not intimidation. Without the people you have nothing to lead. When you place things above the people you lead you have failed as a leader.
A leader and a manager are not synonymous. One can be a manager without being an effective leader. Similarly, you can lead and influence people without having a formal title that designates you as a manager or supervisor. Often, showcasing your leadership abilities without a title gets you noticed by a company when it has an open management or supervisory position.
Are you being underutilized in your current position? Do you feel you could create a positive change in your organization if only your title had “Manager” or “Director” in it?
It’s easy to think that we can truly lead once our job title changes, but true leadership isn’t about fancy titles and countless supervisees. Leaders stand out not only for their individual contributions, but also for their ability to inspire others, to create a sense of community, and to help organizations weather difficult storms.
Life is short, get in the leadership game. Leadership can be learned. You can lead without a title. When we view leadership as position and authority, we mistake leadership as being about control. The reality is that leadership is about freedom. Leadership is our response to freedom; it’s the decision to accept personal responsibility to bring about positive change.
In his 1999 book “Developing the Leader Within You”, renowned leadership expert, author and coach John C. Maxwell introduced a leadership model called the “5-Levels of Leadership.” At level one, a leader operates solely on title or position. Since he can’t motivate others through personal leadership qualities, he may revert to “because I’m the boss” as a statement to motivate behavior.
Could you be at the lowest level of leadership – position leadership? Are you desirous of leading people who want to follow you for who you are? Can you lead yourself from your current position to a whole new level of success? It’s a choice that we all need to make.
I invite you to join me on Friday the 2nd September 2016 at KICC – Amphitheatre as we examine, “Leading Without a Position” from 6pm to 8pm. For reservations, pay KES 1,000 through Mpesa Till Number 983482 (Buy Goods & Services) and confirm your booking through 0718 315551 or 0722 278176 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case you missed my presentation on “Where are Our Fathers?” at KICC on 5th Aug and you are looking for a 2nd chance, I will be speaking on the same subject at Good Shepherd church, Ngong Road, both services, this coming Sunday the 21st Aug 2016 and I will speak the same subject at NPC – Karen the Sunday after, 28th Aug 2016, both services.
For your planning purposes, we will have a Teens & Young Adults 3-D Conference (Dare; Dream; Desire) on 10th Dec 2016 from 9am to 5pm at KICC whereby we will examine: building self confidence; achieving goals; and making choices. The conference charges are KES 2,000. Meantime, learn with me through my videos available at: www.kinyanjuinganga.com.
As a mentorship club, Sense 101 Life Club, we meet the first Friday of every month from 6pm to 8pm at KICC for mentorship and life coaching. To become a club member, get in touch with us through the contacts shared in this article. You will be required to pay a one-off membership fee of KES 1,000.
Dr. Kinyanjui Nganga, Ph.D
Chief Mentor – Sense 101 Life Club.