“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” — Vince Lombardi
So what does it mean to be a leader? What does it take, and do you have what it takes?
I put this question to one of my coaching clients last summer. She was a bit nervous, because she had big visions for her company and wanted it to grow into multiple businesses, and had picked up the term “CEO.” People had told her she had to have a “CEO mindset,” and that she had to step up and be the CEO of her business.
What’s the difference between being a CEO or a leader for small businesses?
The dictionary defines a CEO as:
“The highest-ranking executive in a company or organization, responsible for carrying out the policies of the board of directors on a day-to-day basis.”
This was the definition my client had in her head about being a CEO, and it was what she believed she had to do in order to run her own business. It also made her nervous because it sounded too corporate and she didn’t know if she could live up to it. Besides, she didn’t even have a board of directors.
And she admitted she didn’t really know what it meant.
So we talked about leadership instead. I gave her this quote with her homework:
“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.” — Colin Powell
We talked about the fact that you need to have followers to be a leader. Someone has to want to follow you.
Suddenly her whole energy changed. Solving problems and having people follow her sounded exciting and do-able to her.
And that very day, she became a leader.