What it does do is give you a rather brief period of time to earn the right to lead. While you can be promoted into a leadership position, you cannot be promoted to “leader.”
Earning the right to lead begins with an understanding that people will not be managed, they expect to be led. In fact, they need to be lead. If you’ve been in a management role for a period of time and have struggled to get people to buy into you and your leadership it may well be that they feel “managed”, not led.
They may feel like “a cog in the wheel,” on equal footing with a copy machine or some fancy new software your organization just purchased. They just don’t believe that they truly matter.
The best you can hope for from people who feel managed is their compliance, they will do what they are told because they “have” to. Compliant people are not really following you, they are merely obeying you. Their compliance shows in the level of effort they offer to the organization, compliant people do what they are required to do and that’s about it.
When people feel as if they are being led they will commit. They don’t necessarily commit to the organization but they do commit to their leader. Committed people will follow their leader past the leader’s stated level of authority. They will do far more than their job description requires them to do. Not only is their effort generally better, their results are often far superior as well.
Don’t be a leader in name only.
Work each day to earn the trust and respect of the people you would lead. Authentic Servant Leaders know this fact without a doubt: if your people can’t trust you then they absolutely won’t follow you. It’s more than that, they actually can’t follow you; their brain won’t let them commit to someone that they can’t trust and if they can’t commit, then they are not truly following.
Once your people trust you, and by extension your motives, then you can begin the task of showing you care about them as people. They must know, without a doubt that they matter more than “stuff.” If anything in your organization takes precedence over your people then the people will notice, the morale will suffer and soon after, the trust is gone.
When you make a difference, then you are leading.