Leadership Is Not A Rank


People aren’t going to follow you because you order them to. They’re not going to seek out a new path because you tell them that they must. Real change happens when someone who cares steps up and takes what feels like a risk. People follow because they want to, not because you order them to.” – Seth Godin, Linchpin

Not long ago I was giving a leadership lecture in a class of twenty firefighters and I asked, “Who in here is a leader?”

None of the firefighters raised their hand. One person did however, the instructor. I could already see where this was going…

I addressed him and followed up with, “When did you become a leader?”

He answered proudly, “In 2004, when I was first promoted”.

“So you first became a leader when you were promoted?” I questioned.

He responded, “That’s correct”.

I told him he was wrong. He looked at me stunned, a little confused, and slightly offended. “I’m willing to bet that you were a leader even before you were promoted. At a minimum, someone believed there was leadership potential in you, which led to you being promoted. Would you agree?”

There was a sudden realization about him, and he confirmed and accepted what I had suspected. That realization soon spread across the room to the firefighters as well. Continue reading “Leadership Is Not A Rank”