What is a leader…. So many times, we reward leaders with a title. We promote leaders to management positions. According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, most people don’t identify as a leader unless it is written into their role. Leadership is a skill, not a title, which could be why so many young managers burn out or don’t succeed long term. When I think about my own career (I started as a producer) I wonder why I was considered for a management role so fast? What traits did I show? Referring to the article in the Harvard Business Review, “In its purest form, leadership at work is the ability and desire to accept responsibility for your career. It involves having a vision that benefits not just yourself, but your organization and colleagues.” When I was a producer, I tried to take a big picture approach to my show and the news operation, what could we do different in my show, I guess I took initiative. I was always the “young gun” in the room, wet behind the ears, and some News Directors and GMs trusted me to manage folks, even if I didn’t check off every box. In my opinion age, means nothing when it comes to leadership, time served also shouldn’t matter, these did not matter for me in my career. We see younger managers and there is nothing wrong with that, what I had and what every young manager needs is a mentor to help. It is harder to have someone’s boss also mentor them, lines can get blurred, and it can be hard for someone to freely talk about what they are feeling with someone who is their boss.
Here is the link to the article: You Don’t Need to Be “the Boss” to Be a Leader (hbr.org)
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