What Makes a Leader?

There are various things that make a leaderWould you consider yourself a leader? More importantly, would people around you consider you a leader?

Consider this quote I read this morning in “5 Levels of Leadership” by John C. Maxwell: “If you think you’re leading but no one is following, then you are only taking a walk.”

Leadership is one of the most difficult attributes to obtain as a person. I say this because you can’t define yourself as a leader. You may read traits of a leader and believe you have some, but you can’t officially state whether you’re a leader or not.

This is because leaders aren’t defined by themselves, but by the people that surround them. In my life I never gave as much thought to leadership as I have over the past five or six years. I continually pontificate on what constitute a solid leader.

I used to also believe that great leaders are born, not made. However, in my short lifetime I have come to flip that belief. Leadership, just like anything else in life, doesn’t come naturally. In some cases leadership skills may come more naturally to some than others, but that doesn’t mean they are great leaders. In my life I have known people that had fantastic leadership skills, but they weren’t good leaders.

This may sound like a conundrum, but I promise it can occur. Some people will possess the skills to be a great leader, but not have the will or desire to lead others. Simply having leadership skills doesn’t mean you’re a leader.

For myself leadership is a full-time job. I wouldn’t consider myself a natural leader. In many instances I struggle to convey certain messages and I can become frustrated in my own lack of ability. Additionally, I’ve been characterized as being a little to hard on myself, which could be a negative to leadership in certain situations.

However, what one quality I possess in my leadership journey that I believe to be highly valuable is my ability for self inspection. I may be hard on myself, but I’m good at analyzing myself and discovering why I made one decision over another.

What I’m already learning in the “5 Levels of Leadership” is that you aren’t a Level 5 leader with everyone. If you hire a new employee or leave one job for another, you begin as a Level 1 leader.

As an Affiliate and/or Coach in your Box, you most likely have Level 5 status with just about everyone in your gym. However, each time you bring in a new member, you begin at Level 1.

It’s also important that you realize that you won’t be the same type of leader to all members. Especially in CrossFit you may be a great leader of nutrition, but not known for instructing Cleans well. Likewise, you may have great overhead squat form, but don’t direct classes the best. It’s OK to not be a great leader in certain areas. Try to be introspective and discover where your leadership talents are most suited. Once you make that discovery focus on your strengths and become a great leader for your Box.

Where are your strengths in leadership?

Tyler is a former editor of Box Pro Magazine.