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There are few things in my career that bother me more than a leader who doesn’t lead. In this brief article, I remind leaders of what we are called to do.

Why am I the expert? I’m not.

I’m just someone with over 15 years’ paid leadership experience who cares deeply about the professional development and satisfaction of other people.

Let me first define what I mean by the term leadership. In the context of this article, leadership is someone who accepts responsibility to:

  • Take charge
  • Give guidance and direction
  • Assist and support others
  • Be a go-to person
  • Be available and approachable
  • Be knowledgeable in a particular subject matter
  • Own the outcome of the goals and objectives established under their charge
  • Foster an environment of trust
  • Create leaders (who in turn create leaders)

Sadly, job after job, I am witness to “leaders” who are in it for themselves, their self-promotion, their reputation, their advancement, their whatever. It’s about them, not who they serve. It’s incredibly disappointing.

Leadership is about service. That is, service to others, not self.

For of those to whom much is given, much is required.  – J. F. K.

When we step up and agree to be leaders, that means, we accept responsibility to and for other people. That includes but is not limited to their wants, needs, goals, professional development, ideas, concerns, and feedback.

That feedback should include how we can be better leaders.

Yes, we should be asking those we lead how we can better serve them. If we can’t ask that question, then we shouldn’t be leading.

Those under our charge are owed our best. They deserve the benefits of what we’re being paid to do.

If we’re put in a position of leadership, that means our agency is entrusting us to lead. And we can’t lead when we’re self-serving and scope-locked on our next title, pay grade or accolade.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to advance, make more money, or do greater things. But that shouldn’t be our primary focus.

Our first focus should be things like, are we meeting the mark on what we’re paid to do? Are we effective?

Are we creating a culture of (positive) change? Are we bringing out the best in our staff?

Are we team players? Are we meeting the needs of our subordinates?

Are we trustworthy?

Additionally, it behooves us to bring people under our charge who can replace us some day. If we think we’re irreplaceable, then we need to assess our thinking and put our egos in check.

Strong leaders aren’t afraid of anyone on their team being “better” than them.

In fact, smart, confident leaders bring people onboard who ARE “better” than them.

Guess what? Leaders are successful when they have strong, competent, skillful staff on their team. So, please, hire people who are better than you.

Foster a team of highly skilled, competent staff.

If this article speaks to you, then here are some final words just for you: If you want to be noticed, then take the attention off of yourself. Look to your team. Foster their development. Promote their morale. Help them develop and grow. Find out what they need from you.  Give them your loyalty and they’ll give you theirs.

Do this, and I assure you, you’ll get noticed.

And you’ll have done it the right way.

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Dr. Jennifer L. Prince is a counseling psychologist with over 10 year's experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is a veteran of the United States Navy and has been married for over two decades. She is a lover of animals, Paleo cooking, and purposeful living. Her life's mission is to empower people to break free from old, conditioned patterns, and live a life of happiness, fulfillment, and freedom from suffering.