Your Title Does Not Make You a Leader

Today, I wanted to write a short blog post titled “Your Title Does Not Make You a Leader.”

Your Title Doesn't Make You a LeaderIn the military, Officers and NCO are considered leaders because of their rank or duty position.

Because they have been selected for a certain duty position or promoted to a certain rank, it is assumed that they have the leadership qualities required for that rank or duty position.

I’ve found that nothing is further from the truth.

Your title and/or duty position does not make you a leader.

Instead, your results, actions, traits, and habits determine whether or not you are really a leader.

I’ve personally met plenty of Officers and NCOs in leadership positions (or with a high rank) that were barely qualified to lead themselves.

And I’ve met Soldiers with very little rank that could successfully lead a large organization.

Why does this happen?

It boils down to lack of desire, lack of responsibility, poor training, poor work ethic, personality shortcomings, putting the wrong people in the wrong jobs, and a variety of other reasons.

It just proves that “the job doesn’t make the man. Instead, the man makes the job.”

So, what is a leader?

A leader is someone with influence who gets things done through other people. And it has nothing to do with titles or duty positions.title

You can walk into any military organization (or business) and observe two things.

In any organization, there are formal and informal leadership groups.

The formal leadership group is typically the command team, and the informal leadership group is the behind the scenes people who are known to get things done.

They are the go-to people with the most amount of influence, strongest work ethic and biggest achievements.

In most organizations, the informal leadership group might consist of 2-5% of the people.

Please know that both groups are important.

However, the best organizations have effective formal and informal leaders.

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Whether or not you have a high rank, a leadership title, or prestigious duty position is irrelevant.

In my opinion, everyone has the responsibility to act like a leader!

But how do you do this?

Listed below you will find five simple steps to be a better leader.

1. Be the Best at What You Do: Whether you are the General of the Army, or the janitor, your job is important.

You must strive to be the best at what you do, regardless of your title or duty position.

2. Set a Strong Personal Example: All Soldiers should live by the Army Values and promote the Warrior Ethos.

Always set a good example for others to follow.

3. Focus on Results: Effort is important, but results speak for themselves.

You want to be known for being the go-to person.

And, you want to be clutch.

You want to be known as the person who “gets things done.”

Simply put, you want to be the person that others can count on.

4. Be a Servant: This is where most leaders fail.

Most leaders think their followers should serve them.

Instead, it should be reversed.

The leader has the responsibility to serve the people he/she leads.

That means you are an advocate and helper, not just the person giving orders.

5. Focus on Personal Development: Leaders are readers.

You should be very committed to personal growth.

That means you need a mentor and you need to read books.

You should study leadership, tactics, your military job, communication, persuasion, conflict resolution, military history and a variety of other topics.

Remember, anyone can be a leader.

It is a personal decision to accept responsibility for your actions, to lead by example, to take pride in what you do and be the best at what you do, and to serve others.

By following the steps in this article, you will be a better leader, and will have a more rewarding and successful career in any endeavor.

Do you have any questions or comments?

Please post them below.

Thank you.

9 thoughts on “Your Title Does Not Make You a Leader”

  1. Excellent topic Chuck,
    I completely agree that a person makes the leader not necessarily the rank makes the leader. We all strive to equal that rank and some may do it at moment of impact while others don’t. But if the person has the fire and a humble attitude and begins as a servant first and grow from those around him or her, they will eventually be egual both in rank and leader. Always do your best and take care of those around you first.
    Thanks again Chuck for an excellent Topic
    Proudly serving in GTMO

  2. From Braveheart: …but men don't follow titles, they follow courage.
    Now that is a simplification, but your people will follow you because of your title because that's their job. However, you don't want your people following you because they have to. You want them to follow you because you are a quality leader. Whether you are leading them in a hospital, an office or onto the battlefield

  3. When I was researching for the latest book I had published: Puertoriquenos Who Served With Guts, Glory and Honor, I noticed the amount of leaders who didn’t have titles. Certain individuals who during a major battle actually led others and didn’t have the stripes. They saved lives and many sacrificed their own to do it.

    There are others with stripes and badges that cannot even wipe their own butt.

    A leader is a servant first and foremost. When a person understands that, they have 90% of what they need to become a great leader.

    Great post Chuck.

  4. The person makes the job, the job doesn’t make the person. Give a person power and you will see their true character.

  5. Being respected as a leader has less to do with your title and more how your carry yourself and implement leadership. Leading by example is critical and striving to be your best are important and I am glad to see they are at the top of your list. Nothing will make a team fall apart than having a leader that does not walk the talk.

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