So, what do you think of when you hear these titles?
Each of them brings to mind someone with a position of responsibility that includes the direction of others. Note that I have used the word 'direction' advisedly because there is a distinct difference between directing others and the more powerful and effective act of 'leading' others.
By definition, a leader must have followers. One does not lead oneself...
Furthermore, followers must be willing participants. It is a contradiction in terms to suggest that a follower who is pushed, pulled, coerced or threatened to allegiance to a cause or a goal is, at the same time, a willing subject.
Herein lies the important distinction between any of those whom have been identified in the list above and the authentic leader.
Only the authentic leader has the ability to inspire others. And it is the inspired follower who is able to accomplish so much more than you can imagine.
Just look at your own experiences. When you are 'commanded' to perform a task you will do it. But without your heart felt investment the result will almost always fall short of your best. It will be 'good enough'.
But if you are truly inspired to contribute you will look for ways to improve on even your best.
As we enter a new year, my challenge to you is this. Are you leading or are you directing? Are you leading or managing? Are you leading or commanding?
If it is the latter, the year ahead will be filled with the same challenges you had last year and the year before that and the years before that. Do you want employees who simply show up, keep up and shut up?
Or do you want an environment in which your leadership inspires them to go above and beyond your expectations?
The question may seem rhetorical. But the difference in results are anything but.
The real question though is this. Do YOU have the character that inspires? Or will this be another year 'in command'? Remember, it matters not what we call something, but rather what it truly is.