Where Leadership Begins

When does a person officially become a leader? Does the answer lie in a job title? A certain salary?

Where Leadership Begins

Some of the best leaders I know don’t even realize that others view them in that way.

One day I was speaking to a teacher who felt completely overwhelmed by her responsibilities. Her job extended way beyond the classroom and she was beginning to feel the stress.

“I want to give up all of the other responsibilities and just be a teacher.” she said. (Meaning she wanted to narrow down her focus to only her students).

My response was a question: “If you never had this job title, would you still be helping others in the way you are?”

Her look at that moment told me she wasn’t expecting my response but knew where I was going.

“I believe you’d still be leading even if you didn’t have the job title. You can’t help it. THIS is how your co-workers see you. They looked to you for help even before you had the position.”

Why do you want to be a leader? Whose name are you REALLY trying to build? These are questions that I must constantly ask myself.

You see, true leadership is much more than a job title. As John Maxwell once said, “A leader has to have followers”. You may have a job title that is at the bottom of the totem pole, but because of your personality and skill, others respect your opinion and look to you for answers and guidance.

If this is the case, then you my friend are a full-fledged leader. And one day, the corporate world will take notice and reward you with a position that reflects that.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But why do you want to pursue that?


I don’t know how many times I get interrupted throughout the day. Someone usually walks in with a variation of “Do you have just a minute?”, or “I really hate to bother you, but…”.

If the truth were told, in some cases, I really don’t have a minute. And YES, you ARE interrupting me.

If leadership was all about getting things on my to-do list checked off, then I’d just shut my door the entire day. I’d have everyone make appointments to see me.

But leadership isn’t as much about me. It’s about the people who have placed their trust in me. I am duty-bound to help them achieve THEIR goals for the day. They are why I am there to begin with.

So when someone asks “Do you have just a minute?”, the answer is always, “I always have a minute for you. What can I do for you?”

Leadership begins with serving. Help others achieve their goals and you’ll soon find yourself leading a tremendously supportive staff.

QUESTION: What were some of the most selfless acts you remember about the leaders you respected the most?

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