Leaders Aren’t Giving Themselves a Leadership Title

In Episode 123 of the Lead From Anywhere Podcast, I shared a trend I have noticed recently – leaders who do not call themselves leaders – and the consequences that come from it. If a leader doesn’t accept that he or she is a leader, the team can suffer for it.

Why Aren’t Leaders Calling Themselves Leaders? – Listen Now!

Leaders don’t really use a leadership title.

I have a lot of conversations with leaders, and that often stirs up some self-reflection time. Recently, though, I’ve noticed an interesting trend. Leaders don’t really call themselves leaders. They don’t identify as such. They usually call themselves directors, managers, founders, CEO, and several other names along those same lines. But they rarely call themselves a leader.

On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal – after all, aren’t I the one who keeps saying that a title doesn’t mean you’re a leader? Touché! But the more I thought about this, the more I realize it might be a bigger issue than I originally thought it was.

The Leadership Title Means You’ll Seek Leadership Training

If you don’t consider yourself a leader, you aren’t going to seek out leadership training and education. You’re most likely going to look for management training instead. Which, again, isn’t a big deal – as I’ve mentioned in the past, most leaders are also managers, so yes, learning how to be a better manager is worth it. But as I’ve mentioned before – managing and leading are two different skills, and require two different skill sets. They also require different training. And that’s where leaders not identifying as leaders starts to become a problem.

If you’re a leader, but you’re not seeking leadership training because you don’t think of yourself as a leader – most likely, you’re going to get stuck in a rut with your leadership skills progression. And if you want to be the kind of leader your team will happily work for – it’s not good to be stuck in the same place.

I also think there’s a bit of imposter-syndrome at play here, too. Leaders often think they didn’t earn the influence they have or the title of leader, which can have a negative impact on those they lead. Leaders do need a healthy level of self-confidence to be an effective leader; imposter-syndrome can completely wipe that self-confidence out. So if you don’t identify as a leader because you don’t think you are one, or you’re not a good enough one – maybe take a look at that, as well.

Why Giving Yourself a Leadership Title is Important

If you don’t know you’re a leader, you likely aren’t getting leadership training to help you be a better leader. And if you’re not getting that training, your employees aren’t getting great leadership from you. And if your employees aren’t getting great leadership from you, then they aren’t learning how to be great leaders themselves.

If they’re not learning how to become great leaders because you’re not a great leader, you’re all potentially in a place of mediocre management. Where you don’t trust each other, you all come to work for a paycheck, and you can’t get your team to consistently do what you need them to do. And that’s a place where NO ONE wants to hang out.

If you have a group of people who look to you for direction, guess what? You’re a leader. So please do yourself and your team a favor…own that title, try to deal with any imposter-syndrome challenges, and seek out education to help you be a better leader. That’s how you move beyond mediocre management and become the leader your people would follow anywhere.

Written by : Julie

Julie Bee is the founder of this business consulting practice, a professional speaker, a leader of leaders, a podcast host, and an entrepreneur. Julie helps business owners work through their VIPs - their Very Important Problems and Very Important Possibilities.

She’s the host of They Don’t Teach This In Business School, a podcast that shares lessons learned on the business ownership journey.

She’s a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program (10ksb) and a proud alumnus of West Virginia University. Julie has been quoted and featured in FastCompany, Forbes, Thrive Global, and many more publications.

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