Leadership Has To Be Earned

Posted on 21. Jan, 2014 by in Lead From Within

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Everyone has the potential to be a leader, regardless of title or position.

But many people give themselves the title of leader, and expect others to think of them as a leader without actually understanding the meaning of leadership.

There are also those who have been positioned as a leader by others. They may be ranked at the top of a hierarchy and hold an important position, but who fail us when we need them.

Whether we are granted the title of leader by others or take it upon ourselves, we must remember that leadership is an honor and a privilege and something that must be earned—because others are counting on us and they are placing their trust in us.

Leadership, regardless of labels, must be earned.

 

In short, you earn leadership by knowing what matters.

Behavior matters. It doesn’t matter what your rank or role may be, where you come from, or if your title sounds impressive, you are not leader if your behaviors don’t demonstrate the integrity of doing the right thing.

Trust matters. Leaders must earn trust. You must set the example, know that you are setting the example, and have a deep understanding that trustworthiness takes character. To be trusting requires values, to be trusted requires earning the privilege.

Service matters. True leaders understand: Leadership is not about you but about those you serve. It is not about ennobling yourself but bringing others up. The best way to earn your leadership is to lose yourself in the service of elevating others.

Influence matters. Leadership is neither a title nor a position, it is a demonstration of character that is worthy of imitation, emulation and inspiration.

“Why” matters. When you dig deep into an organization and employees can tell you the deeper purpose and the mission of their organization, you will discover strong leadership there. Leadership means knowing how to manage and empower every level of your organization.

Listen to learn. Learn to earn.  Earn to lead.

 

Earning the title of leader does not depend on how many diplomas we have received, or which corner office we have, or how much money we make, or what title we decide to give ourselves.

Leaders in all realms of life and leadership know that the power they have come to hold exists because they have earned the responsibility of serving the many. Leadership is ultimately a position of service, trust, and character

Lead From Within: Leadership is not patronage, power and position. It is about the service you give to show you care, the trust you bestow to show your integrity, the character you embody.  It’s more about reaching out instead of climbing up.

Lolly Daskal is the president and founder of Lead From Within a coaching and consultant firm that manages large scale corporate coaching and custom made leadership programs. Connect with Lolly Daskal

© 2013 Lolly Daskal. All rights reserved.

 

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83 Responses to “Leadership Has To Be Earned”

  1. Alli Polin

    21. Jan, 2014

    I can remember starting my first job out of college in an “up or out” organization. By year two, you’re promoted from Analyst to Consultant or it’s time to go. Many of my peers walked around with new found bravado and arrogance once they were promoted and officially supervising others. As you would guess, the new title didn’t equal leadership or respect.

    This post is important for people new to the workforce and seasoned leaders alike. Titles are wonderful but they’re not essential for leadership. Thanks, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      21. Jan, 2014

      Thanks Alli

      For stopping by and lending your words of wisdom.

      This post is for everyone who is a leader and wants to learn the core of leadership.

      Leadership must be earned.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Jon Mertz

    21. Jan, 2014

    Lolly,

    I have only one word to offer: Bravo!

    Jon

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      21. Jan, 2014

      Leadership moments are recognized after an event has occurred when teams step back and say “now that was good leadership”.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Karin Hurt

    21. Jan, 2014

    Lolly. Just beautiful. I see “leaders” with power who forget this. They get what they think they want, but they lose so much because they don’t have fully engaged hearts and minds.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      21. Jan, 2014

      We need to take a step back and remind ourselves that leaders need to be learning and earning their leadership every day.

      Reply to this comment
  4. LaRae Quy

    21. Jan, 2014

    I love this! A great reminder that all of us are leaders, in different situations and in different ways.

    And true leadership rarely needs a title…

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      22. Jan, 2014

      La Rae

      You are so right. A true leader rarely needs a title – they are just leaders. They understand the currency of leading and it comes from the heart.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Chery Gegelman

    21. Jan, 2014

    Great post Lolly – It resonates on every level! It’s not about me, it’s about serving others, regardless of the size of my title!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      22. Jan, 2014

      Dear Chery,

      its about you and others.

      Its the balance of both in perfect symmetry. We bring ourselves to every situation.

      So wonderful to see you!

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  6. Jeremy

    21. Jan, 2014

    Hello Lolly,

    Your article resonated with me. I completely agree with you that leading is a privilege, and something that is to be treated sacredly. And before being able to lead, the credibility and authority to do so must be earned.

    Your point that “Trust Matters” I believe is the most important because if your people do not trust you, accomplishing the larger goals and inspiring the fulfillment of the greater vision is impossible. Trust in leadership is achieved through following through with what you say and being a leader of action, not just of words. It also means demonstrating the highest attention to ethical behavior and doing the right thing.

    Thank you so much for the work you do here at your site! I am looking forward to reading more of your ideas.

    Sincerely,

    Jeremy
    @CYLeadership
    createyourleadership.com

    Reply to this comment
  7. Terri Klass

    21. Jan, 2014

    Just this week I was working with an organization where an up and coming leader shared his words of leadership with me. He said that his team is so high performing because whatever the position a person holds, they are respected and valued. He believed that each person no matter their title or background leads when they have the courage to reach out to others and elevate them.

    He epitomized what every leader should aspire to. I was inspired and impacted by his words, beliefs and actions. That is great leadership.

    Thanks Lolly for an important post that all leaders should read!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      22. Jan, 2014

      Dear Terri

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, it is always great to hear what our encounters are with leaders.
      What they are thinking, what they are bumping up against.

      Always a pleasure to read your wisdom
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  8. Daymond Lopez

    21. Jan, 2014

    Perhaps the only title needed is authenticity, we have to be ourselves first in order to earn little by little and in a humble way a leadership mention.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      22. Jan, 2014

      Daymond,

      Authenticity is a virtue of true leadership, one of many that we need in order to be called LEADER

      Thanks for stopping by.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  9. Samuel

    22. Jan, 2014

    Lolly, What a wonderful piece of mind and reminder to those bragging with titles while forgetting that leadership is a service to those who deserve it.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Leadership can certainly be read about, studied, and taught, but individuals rarely think about leadership as something we need to earn.

      It must be earned one skill at a time. one decision at a time. one connection at a time. one success at a time.

      Thanks Samuel for stopping by.

      Reply to this comment
  10. Jimoh Ololade

    22. Jan, 2014

    Thanks Lolly, for the leadership piece it is very informative and useful. As an MBA Leadership Management student this material will be an addition to my research materials.

    Many thanks

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Jan, 2014

      Stop by and let us know how your schooling is going.

      Share articles with your friends.

      We need leaders who understand the foundation of leaders to lead the next generation and beyond.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  11. Panteli Tritchew

    22. Jan, 2014

    Hi Lolly,
    I dearly love the democracy of leadership inherent in your post. There are so many people everywhere, in all walks of life, who earn their daily bread by serving others with diligence and integrity. In return, they earn respect from those they engage and serve. They have no agenda, no strategy and no plan. They know not failure because they have no metric for success. When they lead, it’s effortless because they have not set out to lead, but to serve. They lead by example, not by title. Some are just called Mother.
    Thank you for another wonderful post. Missing you and many good friends deeply on #leadfromwithin.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Jan, 2014

      Dear Panteli

      It is a honor to know you and its always a delight to see where your mind goes.

      Loved your thoughts today. Very insightful and filled with great wisdom.

      Thanks!

      We miss you on #leadfromwithin

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  12. Jeff

    22. Jan, 2014

    Hi Lolly,

    It is a good read especially for me when I just got promoted and leading a small team. Personally I believe leadership is a reflection of the team. Building the foundation and growing as one.

    Thank you for the post. A gentle reminder not to take the small things for granted.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Jan, 2014

      Jeff,

      Leadership and teams are reflection of each other.

      Great leader=Great team.

      Great team= breeds great leaders

      Good Luck with your new position – stop on by and let us know how you are doing.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  13. Joel

    23. Jan, 2014

    Hi Lolly,

    What an awesome post!. Love this, “Leadership is neither a title nor a position, it is a demonstration of character that is worthy of imitation, emulation and inspiration.”

    Thanks,
    Joel.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Audrey

    23. Jan, 2014

    That is a beautiful article, I’m glad I found it a, every line you wrote makes sense and is greatly inspiring.
    ”It is not about ennobling yourself but bringing others up. The best way to earn your leadership is to lose yourself in the service of elevating others.”
    Thank you.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Kimberley

    23. Jan, 2014

    “Influence matters. Leadership is neither a title nor a position, it is a demonstration of character that is worthy of imitation, emulation and inspiration.” Such truth in these words.

    I believe that leadership begins with personal leadership. It is not until we have learned how to love, respect and trust ourselves that we are able to be inspire those qualities in those we serve. And perhaps that is why, people choose to follow the leader…

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      When we are leader we are leading with our entire person, and when you are leading our employees we are conducting our leader actions “influencing, operating, and improving”, as an entire person.

      Reply to this comment
  16. Alejandro Clavel

    23. Jan, 2014

    Lolly,

    Great article! Leadership is earned through authentic care for others. If the actions do not reflect the personality, leadership is non existent because there will be no followers.

    Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Alejandro,

      Leadership is earned in many different ways. If starts with the heart, if we care about people, if we want to motivate people and see them do better…
      We are well on our way of leading and earning that title; of LEADER….

      I believe we need to stop managing and begin leading. Show your employees what success looks like and then let go of the reins and allow them to develop and implement their own processes to accomplish the work. This will satisfy their esteem need because they will feel respected for their abilities.

      Reply to this comment
  17. Roger Saunders

    23. Jan, 2014

    Lolli — well stated on each point. Each of these traits come into play for Leaders as they have chosen or been thrust into a path of Leadership.

    Management is about “process”, and certainly an vital part of involvement in any organization.

    Leadership is about successfully bringing people through change. They will only follow if they believe in your honor, integrity, trustworthiness, and exhibition of commitment to team.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Leadership and Managers must earn the title of leader.

      Everyone is always leading someone in their life. Is that not so Roger?

      Reply to this comment
  18. Joanna M. Pineda

    23. Jan, 2014

    What a wonderful, thoughtful article. I think about the new employee who, because he is well read, shares what he reads, and is willing to help anyone, is now regarded as a guru.

    I just forwarded this article to “leads” in my company who are functional leads but who are NOT managers. A couple have struggled with this. They ask, “how can I be a leader if I don’t manage people?” This article speaks to that issue elegantly and will be the topic of an awesome I’ll have with them next week. Thank you!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Joanne

      Thank you so much for sharing the article. The more we can tap into the truth about leadership, the less is feels confusing.

      Reply to this comment
  19. Yvonne Thrasher

    23. Jan, 2014

    Leadership is the ability to lead yourself FIRST. True leadership is having a teaching spirit and a servant leaders heart. Often times we tend to think that “leadership” is just about that person teaching or speaking on it, when in reality it is not, it is the ability to remove yourself completely, in order to invest in others by influencing, encouraging and motivating them.

    We all have leadership qualities, but it is the true leaders that discover, define and deploy those qualities and ultimately become GREAT leaders.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Leadership is not just about developing a brilliant strategy or executing a task perfectly.

      Leadership must be earned by getting better day by day and week by week and then apply their skills to improving the lives of other people in your organizations.

      Reply to this comment
  20. David Frank

    23. Jan, 2014

    Not only a great post, Lolly, but just love the comments from your readers also.

    Leadership to me has always included the following::

    1) Competency

    2) Confident

    3) Caring

    4) Character

    5) Gracious

    6) Humble

    7) Approachable

    Remember, though – - ‘What gets measured, gets done.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Great list David. I appreciated you sharing.

      and for me….Leadership is not so much about measurements it more about meaning.

      Reply to this comment
  21. Tammi

    23. Jan, 2014

    “The best way to earn your leadership is to lose yourself in the service of elevating others”.

    How true this statement is. Unfortunately, often times we are under the leadership of a “boss” who is just that. They want to keep their people in their “place” so no one surpasses them. Bad move in my opinion.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      The boss who comes from power is a person who is afraid. The leader who leads with fear is scared.

      I would show them compassion.

      Reply to this comment
  22. Patience

    23. Jan, 2014

    This is awesome. with everything else I know…. this tops it. Thanks Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
  23. Rowland

    23. Jan, 2014

    Great insights! I had a young leader that I work with share with me these thoughts; “A Leader’s position in others’ lives shouold be to help promote them in becoming better. Becoming the best version of themself they can acheive. If a leader isn’t providing that to others, they should remove themselves.”

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      This is to be repeated: A Leader’s position in others’ lives shouold be to help promote them in becoming better. Becoming the best version of themself they can acheive. If a leader isn’t providing that to others, they should remove themselves.”

      Reply to this comment
  24. CaJuana

    23. Jan, 2014

    Great article!
    I learned very early in my career how much I enjoy working hard to accomplish my goals. I wanted to work hard, give my best effort. I made it a point to do the job the right way and I challenged myself to improve. Soon enough, my performance was recognized and I started training others and became a mentor for new employees…………I did not intend to mentor. I understood why being a mentor was; and still is, important. There’s a lot of power in encouragement, there’s even more power when others learn by good examples. Good leaders know when they serve others that success within an organization become inevitable. When employees are taught the importance of doing what’s right and striving to improve themselves as professionals, they are creating the ground work of good leadership. These words mean so much more to me now as a professional Ieader as I make the extra effort to do what’s right in business, the impact of good integrity is powerful.

    Reply to this comment
  25. Stephen

    23. Jan, 2014

    Great perspective on the leader’s role. I’ve recently adopted something similar when I speak/present on leadership; anyone can be a leader by title by you are truly a “Leader” when you team tells you that you are. “Leadership is neither a title nor a position, it is a demonstration of character that is worthy of imitation, emulation and inspiration.” Awesome!!! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Thanks Stephen,

      I appreciate your comment- I believe the more of us who spread the word on leadership from within. The more truth of leadership shall be present.

      Reply to this comment
  26. Len

    23. Jan, 2014

    Love all the fine thougts and the emotions they bring out.

    Seems what also is needed are critical thinking followers.
    Am reminded of the expression “too many chiefs and not enough indians”

    I know, I’m confusing leaders with chiefs..

    All to often necessary to “lead from below” in this socially and economically structured society..

    Reply to this comment
  27. Michael Baer

    23. Jan, 2014

    Absolutely right. And, as I wrote in a guest post for Mike Figliuolo this week, kindness makes you a better leader, as well. http://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/2014/01/dont-vote-for-yourself-a-case-for-kindness/
    Michael Baer
    http://stratecutionstories.wordpress.com

    Reply to this comment
  28. Thandi Zulu

    23. Jan, 2014

    Great job that feels good

    Reply to this comment
  29. shai

    23. Jan, 2014

    Great article and a very timely reminder. Leadership is indeed service above self. Leadership requires goal compatibility with follows and focuses influence downward as against power which is used to gain lateral and upward influence..A very on point article.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Thanks Shai,

      Leadership must be understood. Leadership must make sense.
      To those we lead and those who follow us.
      If does not get earned. It is not leadership.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  30. jerry busone

    24. Jan, 2014

    Nice post….servant leaders have the most influence and are the most memorable people to work for…

    Reply to this comment
  31. I got this web page from my buddy who informed me on the topic
    of this web page and at the moment this time I am browsing this web page and reading very informative articles here.

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  32. Steve Sheinkopf

    24. Jan, 2014

    Well said….leadership is others first

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Thanks Steve.
      There are many theories and acronyms floating around the internet that all claim to be able to solve the truth of leadership and while some of them are helpful, many leave out the simple truth -that leadership must be earned.

      Thanks for stopping by.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Thank you Steve!

      Reply to this comment
  33. Joy Abdullah

    25. Jan, 2014

    A fabulous post, Lolly!

    Leadership truly has to be earned. When one is a leader (self-appointed or promoted or elected) the key thought to remember is that one has been empowered to be a leader and all the points you mention ( as ‘what matters’) are what has to be kept in mind by the leader to project in his/her actions.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Joy,

      I agree with my whole heart. You nailed it. As you said…
      When one is a leader (self-appointed or promoted or elected) the key thought to remember is that one has been empowered to be a leader and all the points you mention ( as ‘what matters’) are what has to be kept in mind by the leader to project in his/her actions.

      Thanks for stopping by. hope to see you again.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  34. Amy Byer Shainman

    25. Jan, 2014

    Favorite–”It doesn’t matter what your rank or role may be, where you come from, or if your title sounds impressive, you are not leader if your behaviors don’t demonstrate the integrity of doing the right thing” Thanks Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Amy

      Leaders must earn their title they must lead with with compassion, influence with goodness, and communicate with insight.

      And to be called leader takes ownership and worthiness.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you visit again real soon.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  35. M. Catlett

    26. Jan, 2014

    There’s far too much talk about company culture and morale in leadership conversations these days – the simple truth is that people see whether or not you work, whether or not you’re positive, and if you’re trying to get more labor out of them. You can’t manipulate your way into inspiring a team; be informed, be positive, and work hard to start.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      26. Jan, 2014

      Very true, what you are saying is be the example you want to see.

      If we did that we would have authentic, inspiring leadership.

      Thanks so much for lending your voice on the subject.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  36. magnificent submit, very informative. I ponder why the opposite experts of this sector do not understand this.
    You must proceed your writing. I’m confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

    Reply to this comment
  37. Ologe Philips

    28. Jan, 2014

    I always feel great whenever i read any piece from @Lolly Daskal. This one is an eye opener. I always wonder what was wrong with my Bosses (two of them), now, i understand… Years past, we had dreams, but now they earn wealth and we are all (employees) the way we were.

    Thank you Lolly, i will follow my own vision and learn more from you.

    Phil

    Reply to this comment
  38. Sophia Kwok

    29. Jan, 2014

    Beautifully said. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Reply to this comment
  39. Agus

    10. Feb, 2014

    An awaken and amazing article and filled with worthwhile words. But can anyone to be like in this article? if the answer is YES, he/she must be great leader (in this world).

    I catch this meaning some like “spiritual path” and some like business, management, professional path, etc in the real/material world.

    I believe whilst any people can do and follow this “path”, what amazing he/she is!, why? because how difficult to implement what you suggest in reality, even difficult do not meaning we can’t do it.

    In short, this article really amaze, a great concept, but to be implemented as a course. need to be more deepen and wider then you will “create” the great leadership.

    Leadership is art. Leader is an existence/condition, and Manager is position.

    Thanks to share a great article.

    Reply to this comment
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    20. Jul, 2014

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