“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwell

Think about the people you look up to, admire, and respect. Not just at work, but in life. Perhaps it’s a significant other, or a family member, or someone who raised you. Perhaps it’s someone from your community, church, school, or gym.

Think of this person’s presence in your life and ask yourself why you hold them in such high regard.

Is it strictly because of their title or position? Is this enough to make someone a true and impactful leader in society?

A fair guess would be that even if this person does hold a position of authority, the position itself is not the reason why you value their thoughts and opinions. The very core of the person they are is what makes them a leader.

We have all had bosses or teachers or those we were “supposed” to seek guidance from whom we did not feel comfortable trusting. Why is this?

The answer is simple: Leadership is not something simply given or handed out like Halloween candy. Holding a title or position does not magically make someone a leader.

They may be a boss and have organizational authority over others in the group, but they will never truly lead, because leadership requires willing participants on the journey.

Those who lead understand the most effective way to do so, is “by example.”

We’ve all been told at one point or another in our lives to lead by example, and seeing others putting that into action is what really draws us to them. Who is it that is showing us what they really believe because of how they act?

Who is it that shows us they’re willing to put in the work alongside of their team, rather than to sit behind the desk, table, podium, or microphone and simply tell others what to do?

This is not leadership. This is organizational dictatorship.

Understanding the true qualities and values of a leader helps us as individuals to learn how to be even more influential and provide value to our own communities in ways that make them want to continue listening to us.

The truth is that most people are looking for someone to lead them. They are looking for a decision maker, a confident person who is sure of their path – or at least sure that if they veer off of it, they’ll find their way back again.

These are the people that the masses want to follow. They are inspiring, self-assured, and encouraging. They do not tear people down nor do they order everyone around.

They lift others up and understand that real leadership is not about how many followers you can accumulate, but how many more true leaders you can create along the journey.

Great leadership is not about convincing everyone how great YOU are, it’s about showing them how great they, themselves, can become.