You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader

    -¨During the recent London Olympic Games, we saw many athletes emerge as leaders in their particular field of sport. Those who made it to the medal stand will forever carry the title of Olympic winners and many will undoubtedly benefit professionally and financially from having become leaders in their chosen arena.

    It is no less true that, in everyday business life, cultivating, pursuing and honing the proper skills can result in one’s emergence as a key employee, a business leader or a professional powerhouse. In fact, learning and effectuating leadership expertise are indispensable to reaching exceptional professional as well as personal success.

    For employees who have the desire and mindset to improve their employment position, it is a mistake to believe that being a leader is a skill relegated only to supervisors, key executives or even Olympians. Leadership and developing the ability to influence others are talents that can be learned just like any other. Without taking deliberate steps to develop the ability to effectively influence ones subordinates or superiors, one may find a professional career stymied, regardless of desire, longevity or experience.

    For those who doubt their own ability or who do not believe that they have what it takes to be leaders in their own circle or beyond, here are five fundamental leadership myths debunked:

    1. You don’t have to be in a leadership position in your company or have a title to be a leader.

    2. Regardless of current business or professional rank, you can learn to become an effective leader.

    3. Few leaders, if any, are born. The overwhelming majority of them are made.

    4. Being a boss doesn’t automatically make you a leader.

    5. Leadership is not just for the boardroom; it can be used to touch all facets of one’s business or personal life.

    More than ever, as the recession leads to continued businesses downsizing or restructuring, companies will look for new leadership to emerge to fill the gap. Additionally, workers who feel vulnerable about job stability or employer viability seek direction and are looking for their bosses to provide proper leadership. Employees with a strong desire to excel are hungry to improve their skills and job opportunities regardless of the economic winds of change.

    Learning effective leadership skills is win-win for the employee, regardless of title. Cultivating the right leadership skills provides the opportunity for an employee to stand out head and shoulders above her peers. Many companies are starving for effective leaders.

    Where can being a better leader take you? It may not lead you to an Olympic medal stand but it can bring about other untold dividends: A better leader is more confident, more productive in the tasks undertaken, feels more in command of any situation and the decisions that are made and, more importantly, becomes better able to get things done through influencing other people.

    It’s a way to better position yourself to get that long dreamed of promotion, being bumped up to a key position and/or having the opportunity to take on new responsibilities. A better employee is a more satisfied employee who feels that their skills are being used to the fullest potential and, what better way for one’s proficiency to be recognized and utilized?

    Elaine B Greaves Esq. is president and CEO of Season to Success Inc. and Radio Host of “Leadership Talk with Elaine B. Greaves.” She can be reached at [email protected].