RDF Book Club – The Leader Who Had No Title
by Robin Sharma
The Leader Who Had No Title is a modern fable written by leadership expert, Robin Sharma. The main takeaway from this book is that everybody has the ability to be a leader, regardless of their title. Robin shows us that leadership is no longer about position, it’s about passion. He explains that “leaders are those individuals who do the things that failures aren’t willing to do–even though [the leaders] might not like doing them either.” Whether you’re a janitor, a cashier, or an assistant, you have the power to influence those around you just as much as any director or CEO does. Don’t sell yourself short. If you learn to practice “self-leadership” then you can lead others, and find success in your job, regardless of your official title within an organization.
Self-leadership is about developing and managing your individual energy to initiate, motivate, and perform at a high level. Every great leader has many important qualities that make them successful. One of the most important of these qualities is a strong sense of self-awareness and the ability to use it to lead by example. Developing self-leadership skills can have many benefits in both your personal and professional life.
Robin teaches us this important lesson by telling a fictional story about Blake, a US veteran, working in a bookstore, and struggling to find motivation and purpose. One day, he meets an eccentric new colleague assigned to the shop, named Tommy. We learn that Tommy has been with the company for a long time, and although he (intentionally) did not climb up the corporate ladder, he is highly respected for his leadership approach. So,Tommy takes Blake on a journey where he meets four new characters, each with a different life lesson.
Lesson 1: You need no title to be a leader
Blake meets Anna, who is a housekeeping manager. She loves her job because it is meaningful to her and to the organization. Anna tells us that we, as humans, have the power to decide our role in the world and put meaning to it. And this meaning is what creates our success. She goes on to share the four natural powers that all humans possess, that will help you find success:
- Do your absolute best every day (and learn how you can improve).
- Inspire, influence and elevate each person.
- Drive positive change (don’t focus on the negative or the impossible; and
- Treat everyone with respect, kindness and appreciation.
Lesson 2: Turbulent times build great leaders
Blake then meets Ty, a former skiing champion. Ty shows us that growth happens in the moments of greatest discomfort, and our own mental attitude is the key to mastering those situations. He teaches us that we all have the choice to find the positive and useful in every situation.
Lesson 3: The deeper your relationships, the stronger your leadership
Blake later meets Jackson, a former CEO who left his company to pursue a life-long passion of gardening. He explains that your relationships and interests in other people need to be genuine. To find success in business, you need to radiate positivity, excellence and kindness.
Lesson 4: To be a great leader, first become a great person
Finally, Blake meets Jet. Jet is a massage therapist who focuses on the power of positive thinking. He explains that negative thinking is a disease and is detrimental to your well-being. Jet reminds you that we are always in full control of our thoughts and we get to choose to focus on opportunities rather than challenges.
Most of us are raised to think that in order to be important, successful, or make an impact, you need to make a certain amount of money, or obtain a certain job title. I really like this book because it shows us that couldn’t be further from the truth. We all have a “sphere of influence,” which means we have an impact on others just by our mere existence out in the world. And how we influence others is always our choice, and not limited to our job roles. Forbes magazine defines a “good leader,” as someone who is “courageous, has integrity, honesty, humility and clear focus. They help people reach their goals and take pride in the accomplishments of those they help along the way.” If you noticed, being a leader is all about exhibiting specific characteristics and not holding a specific title.
Written by Destiny Van Rooy
Destiny is our Client Experience Coordinator. She has extensive experience with much of our behind-the-scenes legal work and knowledge of the criminal case process. Her background helps our business and client service continue to grow simultaneously, by making sure that the human element of the legal experience is not lost on the good people we represent. Destiny moved to the Northwest from Arizona, promising to never look back. She’s fully embraced her new life in Oregon and loves riding her bike around Portland. She also loves meeting new people, dancing, crafting and catching live music shows with her husband, London.