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Leadership Has Nothing to Do With Rank (Here’s Why)

In a society where people everywhere are in power, it’s a common misconception that leadership has something to do with rank.

Although many people believe that leadership is reserved for those in charge, it’s nothing to do with rank.

Those who exhibit specific key characteristics, such as integrity and a sense of responsibility, can lead just as successfully as someone at the top of the ladder. In reality, leadership comes from anywhere and anyone. It can consist of being a good teacher, a good listener, or a good friend.

Why We Call People Leaders

The word “leader” is defined as someone whom others follow or look up to. Leaders are often thought of as people with authority, but they can also be considered people who can help others.

Everyone can become a great leader, and people must recognize their own leadership qualities and take the necessary steps to reach successful leadership.

Related: Does Leadership Come Naturally

Before we look at the people who might be called leaders, it’s essential to define what a leader is.

There are many types of leaders, from commanding or controlling individuals such as micro-managers to charismatic true leaders who’re able to connect with their followers and build trust.

A leader often comes from a position of authority or power and leads a team or group members.

Their job is to convince other people to follow the leader. Their job is to take control and help others grow.

A leader’s main job is to organize and motivate the group to work toward a common goal, and some people are good at this without having an official rank or title.

Why Leadership Isn’t a Rank

Some people are just naturally very good at leading.

There are many people who can lead a group of people without starting with a title or rank.

For example, one of the most inspiring people from a business perspective was the co-founder of Apple Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs wasn’t only a successful entrepreneur who changed the world through his technology, but he also changed the way we see leadership in the business world.

Another example is climate activist Greta Thunberg, who became an international inspiration through her environmental advocacy after skipping school to protest in front of the Swedish parliament. As a result, many people today are inspired by the climate movement.

Greta Thunberg inspired millions of people of all generations and backgrounds.

A true leader doesn’t always start with an official rank but builds it up.

How Stereotypes Shape Your Judgment

We often stereotype leaders and think of them as presidents, CEOs, managers, or team leaders. In addition, we often believe that we need to be endorsed by an established organization to get a leadership position.

That may be true for some people, but there are many people who lead in different ways.

You don’t have to be a manager or CEO to be an effective leader.

In my experience, the strongest leaders are those who inspire others to lead themselves. Great leaders have a vision, work to achieve it, and inspire others to do the same.

A leader is someone who knows what direction to take and leads others in that direction. Whether you’re a CEO or just a regular office worker in a company, you have the power to be a leader.

Leadership isn’t defined by how high your rank or title is. Leadership can be shown in many ways, regardless of where you’re in the hierarchy.

Being a Leader

Every day, people are offered that require positions.

Being a leader doesn’t always mean getting a title.

True leaders motivate others to stay strong in difficult times or create order where chaos would otherwise reign.

What matters is what they do with their position and how they influence those around them. It’s about how they can lead without a title.

Some of the most successful leaders in history never had the official title they deserved and led more people than some who’d the right rank and led people into chaos.

Whether you want a title or not, it’s important to know how to lead without one – because you could be the very disaster no one wants to work for.

Is Leadership a Privilege?

I’ve seen some people take pride in their title as if it were an actor’s job. They embrace the leadership privilege, but not the hard work, and in the end, no real visible result comes of it. They often think that they should be appreciated by their followers and group members because they have a title.

The truth is that most people who take a leadership position out of the need to be seen as a great person, rather than building strong leadership skills, tend to succeed with leadership “titles,” but they don’t develop true leadership talent and are more prone to adopt an authoritarian leadership style and lose employee engagement.

This is because you cannot take a leadership position because you want to be the boss or love the title, but because you want to achieve something greater than yourself. Most importantly, effective leadership comes from serving, not from selfish motives.

In the current times, a servant leader or a transformational leader will be more likely to build trust with his followers; his subordinates will be more willing to help him overcome challenges and accept when he makes difficult decisions than if you just enjoy the rewards of rank.

Taking on a Leadership Role

You may already be in a leadership role without realizing it because you haven’t been assigned the rank.

Perhaps you’re often asked to take on a leadership role at work, in your family, or among your friends, but when you really think about what that means, you realize that you don’t want or can’t take on the responsibility.

It’s not that you don’t want to take responsibility or make decisions, it’s the weight of those decisions, the work, the time, and the impact they bring – you may find that you’re ready for some challenges and not others.

For example, your best friend is getting married and asks you to be her wedding planner, and you may assess:

  • How much responsibility and work does that entail?
  • Who’s the skills or network to help me succeed?
  • What’re the risks involved?

These are questions that leaders have to ask themselves all the time.

Organizing the wedding will give you an idea of your leadership skills and traits. In addition, you’ll learn a lot:

  • Your ability to do the right thing at the right time?
  • Your level of emotional intelligence that helped you meet your best friend’s expectations for success?
  • Your strongest skill that helped you get the task done
  • Your leadership style
  • Your courage to overcome tough times and difficult decisions?
  • Your ability to envision and build trust?

The Benefits and Challenges of Holding an Official Leadership Rank

A Senior leader position is often highly coveted, but it doesn’t come without responsibility.

When someone is given the title of captain of a ship, he’s given a lot of power and responsibility. If they can bring their ship to the destination, it’s the captain’s success, but if the ship sinks, it’s his failure, even if it’s not entirely his fault.

The rank of captain makes him officially responsible for all the duties and consequences that come with his position of leadership.

Is It Better to Have an Official Leadership Rank or to Lead Behind the Scenes?

It’s a difficult question whether it’s better to be an official leader or lead behind the scenes. It depends on the situation.

For example, if a stressful issue needs to be dealt with, it may be best to have someone who can handle pressure take the lead and guide the group through that difficult time.

A lot comes down to your personality, your motivation, your vision, your leadership skills, how you can persuade people and build trust, and how much resilience you’ve. So many factors go into being a leader.

Some people like to be the official leader and want to hold the title. But not everyone is born or trained to be the official leader.

Some people are better at leading behind the scenes. Also, being a leader isn’t limited to a particular job and doesn’t guarantee success.

A good leader must have a lot of patience and motivate people to achieve their visions, goals, and ambitions. If you don’t have these traits, you’re more likely to be labeled an ineffective leader than a successful leader.


Good leadership skills are something that many want to achieve in their lives. However, many are disappointed to find that the requirements are endless motivation, hard work, and self-sacrifice.

The questions are: What do you want to achieve in your life, why, what’re you willing to give, and what’re you willing to give up. It’s crucial that these questions are answered before striving to become a great leader.

Leading is a challenging but rewarding experience. It may feel like there are more challenges than successes, but overall the reward outweighs the difficulties.

Leadership builds character and strengthens understanding of the world. Yet, a leader can face many obstacles, such as self-doubt, lack of confidence, and difficulty making decisions even in successful leadership. However, these obstacles can be overcome by following the advice of mentors and allies you trust.

Remember that others have walked this path before you, you aren’t alone, and you can always ask for help.

You can learn true leadership skills and tactics from other great leaders.