His statement made me pause. He has been through storms with his team, along with the pressures that come with being an elected local official. He has had to make hard calls, and he has endured the certain criticism from some that comes with making decisions.
This leader was sharing with us at our Executive Leadership Forum. This is a forum of invited leaders who gather to help one another in a confidential setting. The leader offers a situation in which he or she is struggling. The experienced executives then offer ideas and strategic questions for the presenter. The relationships that are built are mutually beneficial, and the wisdom gained is invaluable.
While setting up the background for his dilemma this leader made a comment that struck a chord with me. He said, “Many people allow their identity to become their position.”
How many times have we seen leaders who find their identity in their position? No wonder we are struggling for solid, strong leadership within our society today. When a leader is defined by title or position alone, character is challenged and relationships are lost. This type of leader is usually shallow and self-serving.
I have witnessed the above leader as he has walked through good times and bad. I knew him before he was elected to his current position. His values and identity have remained the same. He does not receive his validation from his robe, and he does make decisions based on current trends or popularity contests. He is defined by his character, not his title.
Think about who you would be without your position or title. I believe an effective leader is one who leads the same, regardless of his or her circumstances. Choose to not be defined by your position, and you will make a difference.