What a thought, huh? 🤔
As we were concluding our conversation on Servant Leadership on Ben Owden's “Why Lead Others?” podcast, Ben asked me “what questions do I need to ask myself as a step towards becoming a servant leader?”.
The first question, I gave him was, “Why do I want to lead?”
So, why do you want to lead others?
This question is crucial as you set out to develop yourself as a leader, because whilst you can lead people to deliver results, it is “why” you want to lead that determines “how” you will lead; and “how” you lead is what separates bad, good, and great leaders.
Your Why, your motivation, for leading others reveals your values (intrinsic motivators) and what you value (extrinsic motivators).
In other words, your motivation (your values and what you value) for wanting to do what you want to do determines how you go about doing it.
Your motivation for wanting to lead others determines how you lead them.
If your motivation is to be seen as the superstar, you will lead others as minions whose work serves only to elevate you.
If your motivation is to build a team of strong contributors, you will lead them to discover and deploy their and each other’s strengths to be able to do so.
The answers to these 8 questions will help you check your motivation for leading others, to decide whether it is for you:
1. What is my motivation, my Why, for leading others?
2. What top 5 strengths do I think effective leaders possess?
3. Do I have these strengths?
4. What will I need to do and become in order to get them?
5. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being Least, and 10 being Most, how willing am I to develop these strengths?
6. If I could achieve what I want without leading others, would I prefer to?
7. What are the available options to achieving what I want without having to lead others
8. Now that I have options, what do I choose? To lead, or not to lead others?
You Don’t Have to Lead Others, You Know
You don’t have to lead others just because it is an assumed next step for career and business advancement.
Many people choose not to have others report to them and instead create innovative ways of contributing and collaborating with others towards achieving an agreed aim.
There are career and business professionals who actually confess that they have no ambition to reach the top. They prefer to report to others and implement directives cascaded down to them. They have other ambitions, other motivations.
Others still, outsource functions so that they don’t have to lead and manage other people’s implementation. They work on service level agreements, the breach of which is cause for termination, compensation, or prosecution. And that works well for them.
What Do You Really Want?
What do you want? Greater income, influence, impact? Leading others is a powerful vehicle to get you there, but it is not the only one. This is especially so where achieving more for yourself is your greatest motivation for wanting to lead others.