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Have you ever been in a meeting where your boss puts you on the spot and asks you a question and everybody in the room turns around and looks at you with bated breath waiting for your answer?
That was me a few years ago when my boss Kate asked me this question. She said, “Andrew, when do you feel invincible?”
Kate believed in me, she encouraged me and she challenged me. She even corrected me from time to time. And I was thinking about her when I was reading a book recently, which had a wonderful quote in there from Peter Drucker, the management consultant he said,
“Management is doing things right whereas leadership is doing the right things.”
Leaders create more leaders and they understand that when they are leading, they are creating followers who want to follow them because they choose to.
Kate was a leader because she didn’t accept the status quo. She embraced change and set the direction for the entire team. She also embraced conflict and knew how to use it. And at the same time was keen to create a team ethos and a team culture. She was brilliant at networking across the business and getting other departments and teams to understand why we were doing what we were doing and how they could help us.
Kate also gave credit to people where credit was due, and she was brilliant at giving people autonomy and the freedom to express themselves and to make decisions.
A good way to test whether somebody is a leader is to ask this question. If you were to remove their position of authority or that title, would their team members willingly follow them?
When I answered my question about what made me feel invincible, I said, “I felt invincible when I knew what was expected of me, when I had the confidence to take action and move forward, knowing that I had the support and guidance of my line manager, a brain to pick, an ear to listen and someone to give me a nudge in the right direction when necessary.”
All of those things made me feel like I belonged. And most importantly, I felt inspired.
How inspired are your leaders? And do they inspire your people?