How to Lead beyond Your Position

man in white shirt and tie who leads beyotnd his position talking to his followers

Position sometimes comes with power. Everyone craves powerful positions but only a few merit them. To know the true nature of a man, expose him to power and position, then you will see his true colour. It is fallacy to believe you are a leader because you occupy a position. If that’s what leadership is about, anybody can do it and anyone will excel at it. But it goes beyond that; people don’t follow leaders just because of their position or influence.

Yes, influence makes people emulate you as a person. But do you know that people can emulate you and not follow you? Do you also know that people might work with you because of your position, yet not follow you? People only follow leaders, and this is why you should determine to be the kind of person that people will follow.

Often, men begin to place an emphasis on their position when they’re unable to lead properly and as such do not command a following. If a person has to remind others that he is the leader then he is probably doing something wrong – and trying to make up for it (poorly) by conscripting others to follow him. Also, some managers impose a fine to punish people working with them just to get them to do a task. When that happens, they are also trying to conscript the people working with them to follow them. Followership cannot be enforced, it must be earned.

No doubt, influence is important in leadership. But beyond that, there are attributes people look out for before they choose to follow anyone. People follow leaders who care, leaders whom they trust, respect and admire, leaders whom they can approach.

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How to Lead Beyond Your Position

What do people want to see in you as a leader, before they follow you?

1. A leader who cares

This is a very important attribute. This is because everyone somehow wants to get value for value. People do it both unconsciously and consciously.

A caring leader creates an influence that is far reaching and long lasting in the mind of people. When the mind of a person is won by his leader in that manner, he becomes a faithful follower. That is why Dalai Lama, the Buddhist leader, said “We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.”

Human affection is shown when a leader shows keen concern over those around him. This is the reason the leader wins their loyalty and they choose to follow him. As a husband to your wife, pay keen interest and care for your wife’s emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual needs. When you do that, there will be no need to conscript her to follow you. She will naturally do so.

2. A leader they trust

This is often a difficult one for people. Trust is earned and not just given. People develop trust for a leader based on his displayed character over time. When they are able to determine his character based on his reaction in certain situations and their experience with him over time, they associate it with his integrity. A wife has no reason not to be at rest over a faithful husband. The man might have been faithful to her for years. But a man that goes after any lady in sight will leave his wife restless.

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It works the same way with leadership. A leader that has been tested over time with no traces of character flaws wins people to follow him.

3. A leader they respect

Respect is attached to competence. When a leader demonstrates competence in situations that others shy away from, he earns respect. A wife looks up to the husband for direction when faced with chaotic situations in the home. If the husband proffers a solution, he earns the respect of the wife. The wife begins to see him as a solution provider in chaotic situations. If he demonstrates such competence over and over again, the wife begins to follow his directions without being conscripted. Once you demonstrate competence at work, or anywhere you find yourself, be sure that people will tend to follow you.

4. A leader they can approach

People relate with those they can approach. These sets of people don’t immediately condemn others when they present their issues before them. Instead, they empathise with them and look for possible ways to proffer solutions. They don’t put on a high look to scare people from them. They are open with a warm spirit, always ready to receive people. Such leaders are consistent in their relationships with others.

5. A leader they admire

Before people can look at a person with admiration, there must be something he or she is doing right. One thing that makes people admire a leader is his commitment to his cause. A female eagle before committing to a male eagle will always test his commitment to providing. Once the male eagle displays this commitment, he wins his place of leadership over the female eagle.

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I conclude with the definition of influence, according to John Maxwell. In one of his books titled The 360 Degree Leader, he defined influence with an acrostic as follows:

(I) Integrity – Builds relationship on trust.

(N) Nurturing – Cares about people as individuals.

(F) Faith – Believes in people.

(L) Listening – Values what others have to say.

(U) Understanding – Sees from their point of view.

(E) Enlarging – Helps others to become bigger.

(N) Navigating ­– Assists others through difficulties.

(C) Connecting – Initiates positive relationships.

(E) Empowering – Gives them the power to lead.

This is what it means to lead beyond your position!

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