People too frequently buy into the idea that leadership is all about luck or chance. They think leaders magically emerge when called upon or are born fully formed.

This simply isn’t true. Becoming an effective leader is a commitment, one that requires an intentional decision. At FiredUp! Culture we tend to tell people that, “Being a leader does not require a title and having a title does not make you one either.” We believe so strongly in this idea, that we included it in our book, Would You Work for You? The Quest: Discovering the Leader Within. 

Many leaders begin with a goal or hoped-for triumph in mind. To achieve it, they must set out on a journey, make allies, and overcome obstacles along the way. But, before any of that can occur, they must determine whether or not they wish to undertake the quest. 

You might be standing at an important crossroads right now. In Would You Work For You?, we shared nine of the key questions aspiring leaders need to ask themselves before setting out. These questions are:

What Kind of Leader Do I Want to Be?

If you’re not intentional about your priorities and values, then pressures and conflict will ultimately shape and direct you. It’s also important to consider whether you will enter into leadership believing you already possess all the skills you need or dedicate yourself to learning and improvement.

Will Service Be a Key Part of My Leadership? 

While many think of leaders in terms of the power and position they hold, effective leaders frequently act in service to others. You need to determine what part service will play in your role as leader and, if you’re determined to serve, how you’ll put that intention into action.

How Will I Strike the Proper Balance Between Types of Authority?

In Would You Work for You?, we wrote that “With… increased influence comes additional responsibilities,  expectations, and accountabilities.” But sometimes leaders become so enamored with their titles that they rely upon positional authority, meaning the power of their role, to impose their will. Moral authority seeks instead to align team members via shared values and principles. 

How Will I Support My Team?

The most impactful leaders are the ones who invest in their people. Ask yourself how you will go about creating, supporting, and nurturing your team. Remember that teams do not exist to serve their leaders, but leaders exist to help their teams function well.

How Will I React to Challenges?

Challenging situations can strain even the best of intentions. When you’re pressed for time and called upon to respond to a sudden crisis or a seemingly unsolvable problem, what will you do? What core values and foundational skills can you call upon to get your team through the challenge?

How Will I Make Others Better Because of My Leadership?

How will your leadership have a positive impact on the organization you work for and the people you work with? Are you willing to humble yourself and do everything you can to learn about your team and all aspects of your industry?

What Measures Will I Use to Hold Myself Accountable?

Without a clear method of holding yourself accountable, your goals and good intentions won’t count for much. You must be specific about the measures you will use to take ownership of the success, or lack of success, of your team.

How Will I Help Others Become Successful in Their Career Aspirations?

What practical steps will you take to ensure those who work alongside you can become successful and fulfilled in their own careers? How will you investigate their goals and offer support in accomplishing them?

What Is My Ultimate Goal as a Leader? 

How will leadership enable you to make a positive difference in the world? You must have a motivation beyond the acquisition of power for its own sake. Be clear about what purpose you wish to fulfill and the contributions you want to make. 

The Roadmap to Leadership Success

Ask yourself these questions and take some time to reflect upon your answers. This will allow you to develop a vision for the journey ahead, making it more likely you’ll accomplish your goals. As expressed in a paraphrased quote by writer Lewis Carroll, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

Initially it might seem serious and daunting, but don’t forget that a quest is still an adventure! Perhaps there are monsters waiting to be slayed or dazzling panoramas for you to explore. As we wrote in our book, “This is a chance to learn about yourself, grow as a leader, and build an amazing life. Approach it with intent but a light-hearted spirit and an open mind. That’ll take you far and the rewards will be abundant.”

Want more great leadership advice? Give Would You Work for You? The Quest: Discovering the Leader Within