9 Characters of Leadership – The Compliant Leader

The Compliant Leader is where we all start! Or at least should start!. Primarily this is a follower role, rather than leader. Everyone is a Compliant Leader at first and there is no shame in being here. In fact some leaders stay here their entire lives and still manage to succeed. We all start at the bottom left corner! Low technical leadership aptitude, and low leadership advantage.

The ‘Compliant Leader’ is usually focussed on a niche or specific technical area with little need to lead or manage others. Such focus on ‘doing a job’ is vital in teams. Complaint leaders are often the people who ‘get the job done’

I hear often about “natural born leaders” – usually from the same people who believe that leadership cannot be developed (and when I dig deeper, I find that these same people are not ‘natural born leaders’ and cannot be bothered to put in the effort to actually develop their leadership thus, leadership is ‘natural’ becomes the excuse.)

Let me put my stake in the ground here.

No-one is a born leader! 

You are born as a baby. You are not born as the CEO of megacorp inc!

Do some individuals seem to show their leadership character and competencies more easily than others? Sure they do. Just as some people have better hand-eye coordination and find sports easier to excel at. Some are great musicians. Now if you can find one person who is a ‘born leader’ who had never ever developed themselves, practiced and is a truly good leader I will eat 3 golf balls for my lunch.

Now, got that off my chest. We all start as “Compliant” leaders. A few leaders remain so. They possess little of the technical aptitude of doing leadership, and little of the mindset or attributes of being a leader. If you are young, this is perfectly acceptable. If you are new to a formal leadership role, this is acceptable. But, if you are the leader of a country, it is not really acceptable.

Fame as a Compliant leader is not on the cards. Millions of people fall into this leadership character because they get on and do their own job, and simply do not lead others. Every team needs people like this and these individuals form the backbone of every economy.

However, if you are here and want to lead others, you have a choice:

  • Give up
  • Learn how to do leadership

And the most common form of leadership development, is learning how to DO it.

So, the Complaint Leader buys a few leadership books… 7 Habits, Dummies Guide to leadership. The favourite during the 90′s of course was to go get an MBA.

Developing the Complaint Leader

Most beginner leaders are this way because they have never been given training in leadership, have no mentors, or are simply young and thus still a beginner at this leadership stuff.

That being said, many schools and even kindergartens are realizing the importance of developing leadership skills and character at a very young age.

Most often, the chosen development route is to first learn how to do leadership. That is, learn the technical skills or competence of leaders. And the primary skill that a leader has is Engaging Communications.

The optimal route however, is to first develop your leadership character and that always starts developing the Habits and Attitudes of Leadership. Start with Dr. Tim Elmore’s “Habitudes”.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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