Leadership isn’t a natural byproduct of position, power or authority.  In fact, if people are following you because of these, your ability to sustain their following is slim.  People have to want to follow in order for leadership to be sustainable.  I often look at people’s dogs as examples of how they naturally lead in the world – and a simple question can tell a great deal about someone’s leadership…. “what happens when you let your dog off-leash?”  If your pooch is obedient on-leash only, then your leadership has been created by power and authority (and isn’t sustainable off-leash).  Of course, different breeds of dogs are easier to be leaders with, but aren’t people like that as well?

So, leadership is more effective when people want to follow you.  How do you make people want to follow you.  Well, first of all, stop trying to be a leader and start focussing on being someone worthy of following.

10 Characteristic People Don’t Follow:

  1.  Arrogant leaders who think they are always right.
  2. Hand-holding leaders who jump in to fix rather than challenge.
  3. Finger-pointing leaders who never take responsibility.
  4. Overly critical leaders who rarely see the positive.
  5. Self aggrandizing leaders who don’t share the credit.
  6. Verbose leaders who love the sound of their own voice.
  7. Brown nosing leaders who change their behavior when management is around.
  8. Face saving leaders who protect their own image at the expense of others.
  9. Conceited leaders who love telling people what they do and how great they are.
  10. Selfish leaders that aren’t invested in the development of their employees.

10 Characteristics People Gravitate Towards:

  1. Helping others see things in themselves that they don’t see.
  2. Caring about people and having competence in responsibilities.
  3. Challenging others to learn and grow.
  4. Not expecting more out of others than oneself.
  5. Being humble – genuinely.
  6. Being inspirational.  See, think or do things differently.
  7. Being curious.  Ask questions.  Seek to learn.  Be motivated by understanding.
  8. Being authentic.
  9. Having good character.
  10. Service.  Regardless of position or authority, having a vested interest in the success of others.

Reminders for Aspiring Leaders:

  1.  Focus on your “value-add” in all situations….from your organization to your family to individual conversations, what are you adding that has value.
  2. Work toward becoming the person you would follow.
  3. Honor people.  People feel better when they feel like they matter.  Seek opportunities to share their importance.
  4. Ask questions….and then listen to answers.  Remember that you have two ears and mouth for a reason.
  5. Focus on doing the right thing – even when it’s hard.