Act Like the Leader You Want to Be
If you are someone just starting out in a leadership role, this article is for you. Take your leadership to the next level by understanding this concept.
As someone who disliked the leadership style of much of their leaders, it was hard for me to find my own. I knew exactly what I did not like but never had the chance to see what I did like.
Unfortunately, many know what they should not do, but struggle with what they should do. For most of us, we learn what we must do from the role models in our lives.
It is often who we regard as role models that define the trajectory of our path to success. As leaders, we need to have role models of our own. We have to remember that many of the things we do are not original in the slightest. Thanks to many leaders that have come before us, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a role model.
I have found the best leaders model their leadership based on someone else’s. They always have a go-to person that they reference when it comes to decisions and their work. Aspiring to be like your role model, as long as they are a good one, is a great way to become a good leader.
However, what happens when you want to become your own leader? When you seek to define your own path and lead your team in a new direction. What happens when you want to be authentic and not just follow the status quo?
These are the questions that can often blur the lines between having a role model and being yourself. Yes, we should all have positive influences in our lives, but how much should they play in defining our leadership?
In this article, I seek to highlight the importance of role models and individuality. By finding the correct balance, we can all become the leaders we want to be by acting as though we already are.
What We Get From Our Role Models
Our role models in leadership are those that inspire us to achieve the qualities they have. They are not people we want to become, but they possess qualities we find attractive.
Leaders like Simon Sinek and Adam Grant come to mind when we think of inspiring individuals in the leadership space. They constantly talk about resilience and putting the team first. These are great qualities to have and can help us become better leaders.
At the very beginning of my leadership, I had no one to help me define it. Therefore, inspiring individuals helped me find what leadership was all about. Through reading books and listening to content, I was able to get a clear picture of what a good leader looked like.
Our role models are there to give us a picture of good leadership and point us to the qualities we need to get there. Too often, people try to become like their role models and beat themselves up for not attaining it. It is vital to understand that we will never be able to mirror our role models because we are different.
Yes, we can apply their good qualities and continue to be inspired by their work. But we have a completely different life story and should not seek to become the people we look up to. Instead, we should use them as an example/model for what good leadership looks like.
What We Get From Individuality
It is what makes you different from every other leader out there. It is the unique part of your leadership that helps people recognise you. Individuality is the thing that can not be taught, and neither can be traded with someone else.
A huge part of why our role models are so inspiring is because of their unique traits. It might be their way of delivering a message or their bubbly personality in the office.
Our individuality is built upon all the experiences we obtain throughout life. And through these experiences, we can build our own models to inspire others.
At the early stages of my leadership, I remained an average leader because I had not tapped into my individuality. I was sticking to practices I had learned and read. And I spent much of my time trying to become my role model rather than the leader I wanted to be.
Your role model can give you a good model to work with, and your individuality gives you a person to become. Your best leadership is somewhere in between the two, and it is your responsibility to find it.
I have found that average leaders level up to become the best when they understand this concept. Instead of seeking to become a picture of good leadership, they act like the leader they want to be.
Act Like the Leader You Want to Be
Average leaders become great leaders when they stop seeking to be the perfect leader. Instead, they seek to be the leader they want to become. Now, this does not mean doing whatever they want. It means finding a balance between a good definition of leadership and who they are.
It is having the courage to be different to the leaders you look up to. And it is pursuing a leadership that highlights the best qualities you have. You can become the leader you want to be by acting as though you are already it.
If the leader you want to become always encourage their team, then seek to add that to your daily rituals. Put a meeting in every day and prepare an encouraging message for your team before and after work.
If the leader you want to become puts your team first, start doing it. If they are inspirational because of their resilience, be resilient. Ofcourse, this is easier said than done. But many hold themselves back from being the leader they want to be due to fear of what others may think. Some do it because they believe they can not obtain their vision.
However, your individuality is constantly driving you towards a result for yourself that you want to become. And your role models are pushing you towards an idea of leadership you believe is good. The combination of these two things can help you become the leader you always wanted to be.
So, stop reading loads of articles and not taking action. Stop listening to Ted talks and just admiring the leader. And certainly stop trying to be Simon Sinek, Adam Grant or Steve Jobs.
Instead, become the leader you want to be by following your own path and taking the qualities of your role models with you. Start acting like the leader you want to be today rather than delaying it for tomorrow.
I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.