The answer to that question is yes, but… and there’s always a “but.”
You may be thinking:
- I’ve never been a leader so how do I know if I’ll like it or be good at it?
- Does it mean more responsibility and am I ready for that?
- Does it mean more money and is the money appropriate for the level of responsibility?
- Does it mean I’ll have people who report to me and will I have to evaluate and discipline them, if necessary?
- Does being a leader always mean I’m in charge – or could I lead in other ways?
Some people never actually consider these questions, so they are unprepared when thrusted into a leadership position.
That leadership position could be as a mentor, team leader, project leader, supervisor, manager, and the list goes on. There are many ways, and some of them don’t require the designation as a “leader.”
For example, if you’re the person people go to because of your history in a company and the knowledge you hold, you’re a leader. If you’ve been promoted into a leadership position, that does not mean, by default, that you actually wanted to be a leader. It may have been the next logical step in your career progression. You might have been asked to lead a community or school group, because others see that potential in you or there was no one else willing.
Regardless, there is no reason why you shouldn’t want to be a leader. Although, knowing why you may want to lead others is good place to start.
If your reason for being a leader is money, power or prestige, you can stop. Inc.com says these are the wrong reasons for wanting to be in charge because it’s not all it seems to be.
Money is nice, but it isn’t the only thing you’ll get with a leadership role. You’ll be responsible for others, their successes and their mistakes. Power seems like a good thing until you’re the one being called on to fire or lay off a worker. You’ll also find that power to make decisions means you’ll only please half of the people half of the time. Prestige is fleeting – besides, you’ll be busy doing the tasks a leader is responsible for with little time to enjoy the privileges of the job.
What are the right reasons?
Accomplishing a goal
If you’ve ever looked around and said we should do “x,” you’re expressing a very good reason for being a leader. Having a vision or an idea and getting others to assist you in accomplishing it is a great reason for wanting to be a leader. This means that you’re willing to state the goal, recruit/assign others to various tasks needed to accomplish it, and advocate for its success.
If you’re the one helping others by providing feedback, encouraging actions outside of the comfort zone, and finding the resources needed, you might find that leadership is a good fit.
Leaders have the opportunity to help instill self-confidence in others – often just by believing that others have the ability to do what is assigned. Think about the time when someone told you “you can do it.” That belief that you can do something often gives you the confidence to actually do it.
They also have the ability to bring others into the mission, matching skills with what is needed. At the same time, they can identify the knowledge and abilities of the existing team members and either develop or locate what is missing.
Lastly, if you’re good at identifying how each person contributes in a meaningful way, making sure there is a positive environment and acknowledging the contributions others are marking, you’re already on your way to being a good leader.
Remember, being a leader isn’t really about you – it’s about the people you lead. If you’re good at making them your primary focus, they will follow you.
Ultimately, being a leader is about being responsible. Responsible for communicating where you’re going, how you’ll get there, when you’ll arrive, and dealing with all the issues that arise along the way. A leader is responsible for the metrics – meeting sales goals, targets, etc.
More importantly, a leader is responsible to the people who are counting on you to lead them. People spend about 36 percent of their waking week at a full-time job. As their leader, you have both the responsibility and privilege to impact their overall happiness and their sense of self-worth.
If you want to impact other’s lives for the better, it’s a good reason to be a leader.
Simon Sinek is the author of the global best seller, “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action.” His TED talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” is one of the most popular talks of all time. He has one of the best answers to why you should want to lead:
"If you have a desire to see others succeed, that is why you lead."
Find out how you can get more experience through some interesting and less-thought-of ways.
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