All too often, we get wrapped up in titles. Am I considered senior or junior developer? Are we boyfriend and girlfriend or not? Is this donut regular or gluten free? (Okay, so maybe we teetered off the trail a little bit with that last question, but still. It seems like a lot of people ask that question lately…)
For the fab month of July, our Editor-in-Chief, Shanna, read up on The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma. The book is written as a “modern fable” and tells the story of a teacher and an apprentice of skills you need to be successful in your career and in your personal life.
We decided to do things a little different and break the book review up into an acronym the book talks about: IMAGE.
I – Innovation
“Innovation always trumps repeating what might have worked in the past.”
Change is scary, but is necessary for moving on and moving forward. As leaders, we need to be okay with starting with a sketch of an idea and doing what you can to push it in action. The book had a really amazing quote about ideas:
“Ideas are ultimately worthless unless you activate them with focused and consistent action. The best leaders never leave the site of a good idea without doing something—no matter how small—to breathe some life into it."
M – Mastery
“Mastery at your craft—whether your craft is selling staplers or educating children—is the only standard to operate under.”
Every job and every position is important. Even if you have a small part in the company, without you, your tasks wouldn’t get done. Whether you have a senior title or are a budding intern, do your job at the best of your capability. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it well.
A – Authenticity
“Your ability to have an impact and make a contribution comes more from who you are as a person than from the authority you receive by your placement on some org chart.”
Nowadays, authenticity is hard to come by. Social media, although we love it, tends to show the best parts of people, but not necessarily the whole story. In the workplace, it’s easy to be swayed to do things you normally wouldn’t, but being able to stand your ground and stick up for your morals will allow you to leave the office with your head held up high.
G – Guts
“You will have to be unrealistically persistent and wildly courageous. You’ll need to dare more than the reasonable person and risk far more than the ordinary man.”
Being a leader takes confidence. You need to make decisions quickly because your team depends on you. You may not be 100% sure of the route you choose because there are always unknowns, but as long as you try your best and take responsibility if things happen to go awry down the road, that’s all you can really ask for.
E – Ethics
“You will never go wrong in doing what’s right…if there’s one thing I’ve learned about leadership success, it’s that it lies at the intersection where excellence meets honor.”
This is my favorite quote in the entire book. I think too often we shy away from doing what’s right or standing up for someone or something simply because we’re afraid. Taking the high road is not always an easy choice. Whether you go against the grain and stand up for another coworker or you own up to a mistake you made instead of letting someone else take the fall, sticking to your ethics is one of the most noble things you can do. In doing so, you take on highly sought after leadership characteristics.
What’s something that you’ll take away from the book?
This quote stuck out to me because it really stuck a chord:
“Dream big yet start small…Small steps over time generate big results. And failure, on the other hand comes from a few daily acts of neglect that over time lead to disaster.”
It seems like I have goals and ideas I want to pursue but end up never completing them. On one hand, I tell myself to dream big, but when I do that, I get overwhelmed and think it’ll never happen and leave the project unfinished and discouraged. The more productive way to approach big ideas is setting small milestones. It’s something you hear quite often, but it’s easy to forget when you’re actually in the process. This is something I’ll be taking to heart and will apply towards all of my projects in the future!