Leadership is an Honor Not a Privilege

Over the past few weeks, we explored the topics of self-care and boundary setting depth.  This week, we are shifting the lens to focus on the level of responsibility and honor that comes when we step into a leadership position.  

We strongly advocate that everyone can be a leader or exemplify impactful leadership behaviors, characteristics, and traits, as leadership is not about title, rank, or role, it’s about influence and how you show up. This week, we are addressing leadership as it relates to having formal people leadership responsibilities where we are accountable for supporting another person or a team. 

I have often said to those I work with that leadership comes with a high degree of responsibility and it is an honor, not a privilege, to help lead, guide and support others. I have met some amazing leaders throughout my travels, and I have met some leaders who are not energized or inspired at all by the role.

More often than not, high performing individual contributors get promoted into leadership positions because there might be a false perception that moving upwards is their only option. That might be true in some organizations, but it certainly isn’t seen that often inside companies that make their people and the employee experience a top priority. I encourage you to reflect on why you have chosen the leadership path and whether you are in the role for the right reasons. 

Why We Take the Leadership Path

While there isn't a universally agreed-upon set of statistics on why people choose leadership positions, several studies and surveys have explored the motivating factors behind seeking leadership roles. Here are some of the most common reasons:

Desire for Impact: Many people are drawn to leadership positions because they want to make a difference. They see leadership as an opportunity to enact change, solve problems, and contribute positively to their organization’s success.

Personal Growth and Development: Leadership roles often provide opportunities for personal growth and skill development. Individuals may seek leadership positions to challenge themselves, expand their capabilities, and learn new things.

Recognition and Status: Some individuals are motivated by the prestige and recognition that come with leadership positions. They may see leadership as a means of gaining influence, authority, and respect within their organizations or fields.

Career Advancement: Leadership roles can be seen as stepping stones to further career advancement. Many people aspire to leadership positions as a means of progressing in their careers, gaining access to higher-level opportunities, and increasing their earning potential.

Influence and Decision-Making Power: Leadership positions often come with the ability to shape strategies, make important decisions, and influence outcomes. Individuals who value autonomy, control, and the ability to drive change may be attracted to leadership roles for this reason.

Passion for the Mission or Vision: Some people are inspired by the mission or vision of the organization they're a part of. They may be drawn to leadership positions because they're passionate about the organization's goals and want to play a more active role in achieving them.

Sense of Responsibility and Duty: For certain individuals, leadership is seen as a responsibility, and duty to serve others. They feel a strong sense of obligation to lead and serve others.  

Recognition of Leadership Potential: In some cases, individuals may be encouraged to pursue leadership positions by mentors, colleagues, or other leaders who recognize their leadership potential. External validation and support can play a significant role in motivating people to take on leadership roles.

It's important to note that people's motivations for seeking leadership positions will vary widely based on their individual values, experiences, and circumstances. Additionally, some individuals may be driven by a combination of factors rather than a single overarching reason and that is okay.  

At the end of the day, if you do not care about helping others succeed and perform well in their respective roles then perhaps leadership isn’t the right path for you. Or, perhaps you have been motivated or drawn to leadership for reasons that might only benefit your success. When we step into a formal leadership role, it isn’t solely about our success anymore, it’s about achieving collective success with others, and frankly, it’s an honor to lead others - a privilege that should not be taken lightly.

Why is Leadership an Honor

Leadership is not about a position of authority or power, but a sacred trust that we strive to build through inspiration, empowerment, and uplifting others towards achieving common or shared goals. It is an honor to be cherished and upheld with unwavering dedication and focus as you are impacting people's lives.   

At its core, leadership embodies the concept of servant leadership. It is about placing the needs of others above your own personal ambition to climb the corporate ladder. It’s your responsibility to steer the course with wisdom, compassion, and integrity. True leaders understand that their role transcends mere directives; it entails fostering an environment where every individual can thrive, where voices are heard, and talents are nurtured. In doing so, they cultivate a sense of belonging and camaraderie, forging bonds that transcend hierarchy and unite people to pursue greatness together.

Being a leader is a path forward where we can have a profound impact, a means to effect positive change by leaving situations and teams better than we found them. Through visionary leadership, we can ignite inspiration in others, encourage possibilities, and transform challenges into opportunities. It is our role to serve as catalysts for innovation, instilling courage, and resilience in the face of adversity, and guiding our people towards a better tomorrow. Impactful and inspirational leadership is a journey of continuous growth and self-discovery for us and for those we support.  

We Want to Hear from You

What are your thoughts on this topic of leadership being an honor not a privilege? Why have you chosen the leadership path? We want to hear your thoughts, so please reach out by sending an email to joanne.trotta@leadersedgeinc.ca or call me on 416-560-1806.

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