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Episode 64: How Leaders Become Leaders

podcast Apr 18, 2023

What makes someone a leader? It seems like some people are thrown into leadership and others strive for it?

You can hear both parts of the question that are really linked together. One, what is a leader? And the other is how does one become a leader?

Last episode we walked through the conversation on what actually is a leader? But how do leaders of any kind become leaders? It seems like some people are thrown into leadership and others strive for it.

Thrown in to Leadership

There are some leaders who seem to just fall into it. Even at a young age people recognize their influence and follow. They may rise up quickly and can be given higher levels of responsibility and influence. There are strengths and shadows on both sides of being thrown into leadership.

Strengths – In these moments when someone sort of “falls into leadership” the key relationships and the natural charisma  contribute to influence. They can be like accelerants that open doors more quickly so it can seem like they are “born leaders.” These qualities allow them to rally followers and create momentum into the future. 

Shadows – Quick rise risks not developing the character needed to sustain the pressure of leadership or they may be sidetracked by the realities of living leadership in the trenches. It creates a potential blindside that if left unaddressed can lead to burnout or poor choices in personal morality that can have devastating effects on other people.

Leaders that “fall into leadership” have a great responsibility to steward their gifts, opportunity and relationships with humility and put in the work to surround themselves with honest friends. 

Strive for It

Leadership isn’t handed to them, but they have to work for every ounce of influence they have, they have to pursue positions that might not be readily handed to them. There might be more asking – and having to face some rejections along the way and rebound from it. 

Strengths - influence through the setbacks is a more sustainable influence built on experiences that ultimately followers can resonate with. 

Shadows - resentment can build up in the face of life’s setbacks and some give up the striving. 

Many potential leaders do the work, get the training, have the expertise and can still hit a glass ceiling or unfair limitations. If you’re one of those striving for leadership and hitting a ceiling, my challenge is to broaden your definition of leadership if you haven’t already. Check out the last episode!

The risk in either scenario is that you focus on leadership rather than the person who you want to be and the person God wants you to be. So, do the work to build your character. Surround yourself with people who can be honest with you. Walk in humility and self awareness. Continue to pursue growth.

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