The Advancing Leadership Blog

The Leader of Choice Vs. The Leader of Position

In your life you’ll experience many different leaders. There are, however, only two types of leadership: those who experience it as a position (I’m a CEO, I’m just doing my job), and those who experience it as a matter of choice (I’m responsible for these people, I’m responsible for their successes and failures, as well as my own).

Those who come at it as a position certainly do their best to lead, but they will never be great leaders. They see the job as simply just a job. They have guidelines, deadlines, and responsibilities that get them through the day to day. Anything above and beyond is icing on the cake.

Those who see it as a matter of choice, however, understand the responsibility that necessarily comes with being a leader. Every day presents itself as a learning opportunity, and the choices made each day solidify their position as a leader.

This is because leadership is adaptive and malleable. It lends itself to many different situations and requires a personal awareness of these situations. To be thrust into leadership and to do everything by the strict guide line of the job description will leave you and your employees wanting. You cannot be a passive leader.

The position does not automatically come with trust. Respect, maybe, but not trust. Not from your own team, your clients or customers. This trust is earned through every decision and choice made.

That’s why leadership is a choice, or rather, is a volume of choices, made day in and out.

Here are three ways to spruce up your leadership, and make it a matter of choice:

Creating Leaders

Creating, advising and leading others towards leadership are not in the job description. This is something else that must be done to ensure the success of a business.

Creating a leader is a long, intensive process. It requires mentoring, directing and most importantly, trust building. It’s about motivating others to think critically about themselves and their teams, while always keeping an eye fixed on future development.

Turning your team into leaders is perhaps, the greatest display of proper leadership, but this is a choice made by leaders. It’s not part of the position.

Adapting to a Situation (Changing Objectives, Changing Goals) 

Being an adaptive leader is critical to success. Situations will not always work out as planned, and strategies will not always come to full fruition. Rolling with the punches and staying light on your feet are necessary to succeeded as a leader. It often helps if you have a team of developing or developed leaders at your side.

The leader of position stays the course. Sometimes this means they are incredibly successful, other times it leads them to peril. They ride with their company, and do their job, but don’t often see the danger ahead. Even if they do, a drastic policy change, or adaptive measures are not like the leader of position.

The leader of choice comes at the world day to day, always with an eye on the future direction. They slowly adapt their policies and strategies to stay in touch with their evolving company culture and the changing world around them.

Adapting to Values and Culture

Often, a leader will have to adapt to a company’s culture and values. In some circumstances, a leader will have to adapt the company’s culture and values to suit their changing customers. This requires constant scrutiny, and an open ear to customers and employees.

It is the leader of choice who is able to guide his company through these adaptations. An active engagement with the company, and team of critically thinking leaders puts the leader of choice in a key position to sway culture and values towards a changing customer base.

It’s a matter of making choices day in, and day out. Sometimes they aren’t always the right choices, but when that happens, the leader of choice responds appropriately.

If a life is the summation of experience, then a leader is the summation of choices.

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