Your Title Doesn’t Make You a Leader

by Ron Potter

This comes from an article in INC magazine with that same title.

In that article, they list a couple of issues that do make you a leader.

  • “From Intimacy comes ‘Into-Me-See'”
  • “Forget your Title and Be Yourself”

From Intimacy Comes “Into-Me-See”

I’m not sure if I’ll ever remember the “Into-Me-See” when I see the word Intimacy but the point is very clear.

I’ve written many times how important it is to develop trusting relationships with your team.  The manager who says “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to get the best productivity” doesn’t ever quite realize that the best productivity only happens when people are treated like people and not wholly about what they can accomplish.

This usually breaks down with the manager blaming others for not meeting deadlines, not tackling the issue with enthusiasm, or even being too stupid to get the task done.  They never realize that the task doesn’t meet expectations because people don’t feel valued and connected.

In the article Brene Brown says,

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” 

Sustenance and strength from the relationship!  Without building trusting relationships, that sustenance and strength doesn’t exist.

I recently wrote a blog about the Neuroscience of Trust.  Building relationships releases Oxytocin which promotes trust.  In the Inc. article the “into-me-see” statement is explained,

“With intimacy, we mean ‘into-me-see’:  it means that you are seeing the other person, the other human being at the other side of the table with whom you are having a discussion.  Only when someone feels seen, heard, and valued will then listen to what you have to say and, as appropriate, follow your leadership.”

See into other people.  Let them know that you know who they are, not just what they do.  You will build the trust needed to be a great leader.

Forget your Title and Be Yourself

Charlie Munger, partner of Berkshire Hathaway recently said, “It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.”

Somehow with new titles comes this concept that we must be smarter than we are or at least smarter than those around us.  That’s stupid.  Charlie says, trying to be consistently not stupid results in long-term advantages.

I’ve coached a few people lately who are taking on a new job and feeling they weren’t quite smart enough for the new role.  I tried to help them understand that everything they needed was already inside them.   They should just be who they are!  They already have what it takes to be great at the new jobs.  They don’t need to be something more! They don’t need to be smarter!  In fact, trying to be smarter only creates obstacles and doubt that keep them from being the best.

Just be yourself.

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