You Might Not Be a Leader

I'm sure everyone has heard Jeff Foxworthy's famous line: "you might be a redneck".  He has created a business talking about things that define those who fall into that camp.  As I've listened to speakers on leadership this past year, I've been collecting a series of things that have been shared around what separates those who lead from those who can't, won't or don't. 

I hope you enjoy the list, but more importantly, you seriously ask yourself the question "Am I really a leader"?  There are a lot of people who believe they are leaders, but fail one of the two litmus tests:

- Is anyone following?  Leaders have followers!

- Who have you invested into in order to grow them as a leader?  Leaders create leaders!

Here is my current list of ways you can tell if you might not be a leader:

1. If you are hesitant to color outside the lines, you might not be a leader

2. If you are not willing to get creative, you might not be a leader

3. If you are not a risk taker, you might not be a leader

4. If you are willing to be held back by tradition or an old way of doing things, you might not be a leader

5. If you default to management under stress, you might not be a leader

6. If you don't like to change direction, you might not be a leader

7. If you are willing to delegate decisions to committees, you might not be a leader

8. If no one is following you, you might not be a leader

9. If you are uncomfortable asking people to follow, you might not be a leader

10. If you aren't gifted with leadership skills, you might not be a leader

11. If you are unwilling to drive change, you might not be a leader

12. If you are not energized by uncertainty and obstacles, you might not be a leader

13. If you aren't looking for the next challenge, you might not be a leader

14. If you are content to babysit problems, you might not be a leader

15. If you don't want to take things to a new level, you might not be a leader

16. If you cannot remember the last time you got excited about the future, you might not be a leader

17. If you actually begin to despise the people in your company, you might not be a leader

18. If you spend more time on the cell phone and computer when you are at home than you do with your own family, you might not be a leader

19. If you often dream of being in another organization…thinking that if you were somewhere else, you would have no problems, you might not be a leader

20. If you are often overwhelmed with feelings of intense sadness, and you don't know why, you might not be a leader

21. If you can't sleep because of worry, you might not be a leader

22. If you keep telling yourself (and your family) that one day everything is going to slow down, you might not be a leader

23. If you think you have achieved being a great leader, you might not be a leader

24. If you are a person who sits around and complains about a problem rather than fixing it, you might not be a leader

25. If you would rather hear about the competition down the road having a major problem than focus on growing your own organization, you might not be a leader

26. If you are one who makes promises but does not follow through, you might not be a leader

27. If you are not increasing your own leadership capacity, you might not be a leader

28. If you do not genuinely care about the people you lead, you might not be a leader

29. If you are not giving your best effort in what you are called to lead, you might not be a leader

30. If you are not focused on encouragement and vision casting rather than reminders of “how great things used to be”, you might not be a leader

31. If you are not willing to take the blame but would rather point the finger at someone else, you might not be a leader

32. If you are unwilling to be accountable, you might not be a leader

33. If you seldom achieve your goals, you might not be a leader

34. If you are unclear about what you are trying to do, you might not be a leader

35. If you are not in a peer group, learning from other leaders, you might not be a leader.

Leadership is hardIt is a lot of work. But we have to be willing to get outside the box and do what it takes.  Find some time to do a self-evaluation.  Are you a leader?  Where can you do better?  What is your plan to grow your leadership skills in 2013?

About the Author

Arlin Sorensen serves as the CEO and Founder of the Heartland Companies which includes HTG Peer Groups. When he is not traveling to speak and consult, he is home on his farm in Iowa with his wife Nancy. He is a proud “Pop” to four precocious grandchildren who serve as daily reminders of why he is intentionally living to leave a strong legacy of faith and integrity. He loves making a difference in the lives and businesses of small business owners. You can reach him at asorensen@htgpeergroups.com or on Twitter @asorensen.