With the abandonment of the Great Man theory on leadership, we now know that anyone has the potential to lead. The question you must ask then is, how do you know when you are ready for leadership?
Before you can know if you’re ready for leadership, you have to know what leadership is. John Maxwell says that leadership can be reduced to one word: Influence. As a leadership scholar and researcher, however, I encourage you not to take such a reduced view on leadership.
Leadership is the act of leading, which means that leadership is a behavior. Influence is an outcome of leadership, but influence is not the behavior of leadership.
Leadership, rather, is the way in which one person intentionally interacts with people in order to influence their behavior toward a desired outcome.
With that definition in mind, how do you know if you’re ready to lead?
- You can build consensus. Leaders must be able to rally folks around a common idea. You may inspire people through a shared mission of impact, or you might have the resources to offer big bonuses. Ultimately, what matters is that you are able to get people working toward a goal you set for them.
- You have and use emotional intelligence. A simple summary of emotional intelligence is: one’s ability to recognize and manage their emotions and behavior and use it to manage relationships and social situations. Are you aware of how your emotions affect your behavior? Can you regulate your behavior in spite of your emotions? Are you able to interpret what people tell you beyond the words they use? Can you inspire people to think and behave a certain way? These are all components of emotional intelligence, which is what Daniel Goleman calls the essential element of leadership.
- You recognize that leadership is a role and not a position. A leader’s responsibility is to her followers not the other way around. A leader who realizes that they don’t have any followers is delusional. Leadership readiness is about how you view leadership.
- You know that leadership and management are not the same. Leader cast vision, guide the mission, and give direction. Managers are responsible for the work that makes that happen. Managers will lead and leaders will manage, but you must know the difference between the two.
Question: What else makes someone know they are ready for leadership? You can leave a comment by clicking here.