Don’t wait to be the boss to act like a leader

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He’s a hypocrite, a liar, and once ‘fake fired’ two of his employees as a prank.

Despite the coffee mug on his desk indicating “World’s Best Boss”, he’s anything but a leader. He mocks the people that work for him, makes crude jokes in the office, and unfairly treats his employees based on personal feuds.

His title is “Regional Manager” but he is far from a deserving leader, manager, or even boss.

Sound familiar?

That’s because these shenanigans took place on the popular sitcom, The Office. The ‘mockumentary’ style show depicted the workday of the typical office workers and presented their ego clashes, boredom, and inappropriate behavior (often by the boss, Michael Scott).

Sure, this was just a TV-show and most bosses would never ‘fake fire’ their employees. However, there are plenty of bosses that have been given the title of “manager” or “boss” but, like Michael Scott, are not deserving of it.

Leadership doesn’t require a title, crown, or followers. It’s more about the way you act and carry yourself, than your title or status.

Don’t wait to be crowned boss to act like a leader

One of the easiest ways to lead is by setting the example for what you want your organization, community, or world to look like.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” — Ghandi

People love this quote because it’s true. You don’t need acknowledgment to lead. Your title doesn’t need to read “President” and you certainly don’t need to have “CEO” in your Instagram bio.

If you want to be part of an honest, hard-working team, it needs to start with you. Set an example of being honest and hard-working and that will inspire others to do the same.

In the words of the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams…

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

What this means is that you don’t need the title of a leader to start acting like one. A leader is someone who inspires, motivates, and guides others, not someone with the acknowledgment of being a boss.

There are opportunities to lead in every aspect of your life:

  • In your family
  • In your community
  • In your relationships
  • On social media

And yes, even if you aren’t “the boss” in the office. If you don’t have direct reports, you can still lead — with your words, with your actions, and by setting the example for others.

“You don’t have to say everything to be a light. Sometimes a fire built on a hill will bring interested people to your campfire.” ― Shannon L. Alder

Don’t wait until you’ve finally become the boss to start leading. Start today, where you’re at now.

Leadership is a mindset. It’s about the way you carry yourself. It’s about the way you think and act. Not about your title or the acknowledgment as the boss.

Final thoughts

Leadership doesn’t require a title, crown, or followers.

Leadership is a mindset. Leadership is how you choose to act.” — Tim Denning

It’s about the way you carry yourself. About how you think and act. Leadership is not about your title or how many people work under you.

In the great words of Tony Robbins, “Being a good leader isn’t about power, authority, or telling people what to do. It’s about being committed to creating change for the better within your organization — and being able to inspire others to do the same. True leadership comes from within, not from your job title.

Find a way to lead right now. There are opportunities all around you. It could be in your family, at your church, in your community, or even on the train to work.

Leadership is about how you think and act — so be conscious of how you do these things throughout the day.

Smile. Open the door for people. Lending a “listening ear” when someone is in need. Teach someone something you already know.

This article first appeared on Medium.