Elevating Leadership Series: Leaders Aren’t Born, They’re Made

I want to cordially welcome you to the Elevating Leadership Series by Altitude Consulting! This blog series is a forum to open the floor to discussion on the topic of leadership and its myriad influences.

I know what you’re thinking: “Not another schmuck trying to preach to me about leadership. I know how to lead.” I can practically see your eyes rolling in their sockets through the computer. And, that, my friend, is precisely the issue. Everyone thinks—correction: knows—they can lead. But, we all, at the very same time, know that everyone cannot, in fact, lead. We’ve all worked for that one boss (and I wish there was only one) that was completely unremarkable—at best—or completely awful—at worst. If we all know how to lead, how is it that we end up with scumbags, tyrants, and jerks in leadership positions? Curious? Well, I’ll tell you how. Wait for it…

It’s really simple you see. We all know how to be in charge. But, we don’t all know how to lead. Boom. No, no, no—it really is that simple. Leadership isn’t just telling people what to do or carrying the title of boss. It’s so much more than that. And, like most things in life, we have to learn to exercise it.

“Well, who died and made you an expert?”

That’s a great question, to which I will answer: no one. I’m simply a lover of people and of teamwork who has worked for some pretty great and pretty terrible people. I’ve also had the opportunity of leading some pretty great and pretty terrible people. I’ve also done a pretty great and pretty terrible job several times. And, each time, I learned.

“Okay, I’ll play your stupid little game: What did you learn?”

I’m really glad you asked! I learned humility. I learned that leadership is humble and that only through humility can leadership be learned—well, can anything be learned really…but, I digress though. Think about that. To be a leader requires humility because leading requires learning: learning people, learning environment, learning variables, learning processes. The list goes on. Leadership, therefore, is a humble, life-long journey of constant reflection and readjustment. When you think you’ve conquered it, you will be presented a situation that will require you to reinvent your leadership capabilities or – at the very least – use them differently.

So, for those of you that are humble enough to admit that, no matter how wise or how experienced you are, you still need to learn and improve, we’re going to do that throughout this blog series together. We’re going to explore some practical and academic topics and really get to the bottom of this leadership thing. We’re going to take the sandpaper to our faces, smooth out the roughness, and go forward better than we arrived.

In the next entry, I’ll offer my opinion of the three things you need to get started on the path to leadership. No matter where you’re at in the hierarchy of management, these three things can help you establish, reinvigorate, or fine-tune your leadership. See you in about two weeks!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. How do you differentiate “readjustment” from “waffling”?

    1. What a great question! Thank you so much! In my humble opinion, the verbiage in the definitions of each word make the differentiation. The definition of ‘waffling’ relates to the word ‘dither’ which indicates a ambivalent back and forth. ‘Readjustment’, however, is more closely related to ‘adaptation’ and ‘fixing’. So, in relating the definitions to the topic of leadership, I suggest that through humility, a leader learns to adapt their leadership to each circumstance and person. Readjusting leadership, therefore, is not waffling because adapting signifies decision-making not ambivalence. Do you agree or disagree?

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