Positional Leadership v Personal Leadership
If you walk into many organisations in most industries, you will likely encounter the staffing phenomenon of those in positional leadership roles, and those in personal or real authentic leader roles. What will often separate the more forward-thinking, aspirational and focused organisations from others is the ratio of real authentic leaders compared to the number of positional leaders.
What differentiates a positional leader and a personal leader?
Positional leaders operate from a traditional or formal understanding of power. Someone who holds a position of power, say a CEO, CFO or COO, can reasonably assume that a large amount of power is granted to them based on their title alone. Leaders who operate from a positional standpoint alone are often unable to look beyond the roles and responsibilities of the title to see how their performance, attitude and general behaviour affects others.
Authoritarian by nature, positional leaders often rely solely on their formally defined responsibilities to influence or coerce others to obey them. Unfortunately, those who operate using this type of leadership style have fundamentally misunderstood how great leaders work to secure and maintain the loyalty of those around them.
On the other hand, personal power comes from being someone worth following and looking to for direction. Authentic leaders or personal leaders operate far beyond the formal responsibilities of their position. Those who operate with a personal leadership mindset are more focused on organisational and business growth, motivation of those around them, and the overall engagement of the entire team.
While personal leadership also can involve positional leadership in times of trial, stress or necessity, it is not used as the defining factor for influencing others. Rather, a strong personal leader will be highly respected because of their ability to juggle responsibility, while also being able to be relied on by those around them.
Developing personal leadership qualities amongst those outstanding performers in your team is essential for your business to grow around the qualities of self-leadership, self-respect and self-management. Similarly, those who aspire to be leaders would be advised to invest in their own self-leadership, and develop their personal power, trusting that opportunities to influence others will surely come.
Remember, leadership is not necessarily about the title someone holds or the designation of duties. It is more about the impact, influence and inspiration that someone has over a group of people. More often than not, the real power of a position comes from more than just where they may sit within an organisational chart; it comes from how authentically they can hold a team together, generate enthusiasm in others, and make a genuine difference in an organisation.
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