The Leader Who Had No Title 

By: Robin Sharma



Robin Sharma’s business fable, “The Leader Who Had No Title” has at its core the following message: Growing and developing the leadership talent of every single person throughout the organisation faster than their competition is the only way for companies to avoid getting eaten alive.

Companies need to strengthen the capacities of employees at every level to lead in everything they do.

It’s quite a challenge. But in his book, Sharma provides easy to understand and apply models based on the characteristics we need to nurture. Join us for 10 minutes to find out what they are and how we can gain real success in business and life. Let’s get started.

The only way any organisation can succeed in the current economic climate is by effective everyone. Everyone needs to inspire their teammates. Everyone needs to take responsibility for results. Everyone needs to lead.

Sharma advises each one of us to assume personal responsibility by becoming the CEO of our own roles. Leadership has nothing to do with what we get or where we sit. Leadership is a lot more about how brilliantly we work and how masterfully we behave. So, how do you become a ‘Leader without Title’?

We need Innovation

Sharma claims that to be a leader without title we need to constantly ask, “What can I improve today?”. We need to avoid what Sharma calls Mediocrity Creep — that unseen and dangerous descent into being average that infects our work without us even knowing it.

We need to stop doing the same. In Sharma’s new world of business, the riskiest place we can be is trying to do the same things in the same way as we’ve always done them. Same effort = same result. We need Innovation.

We need Mastery

The comedian Steve Martin said it really well when he advised, “Be so good that people cannot ignore you.” We need to be the first, the most, the only and the best at what we do.

In Sharma’s view, the starting point of a move to mastery is to raise our self-expectations. We need to go the extra mile. As Sharma points out, there’s a lot less competition on the extra mile because so few people believe they can play there: few commit to spending their careers there.

Everyone wants the rewards right now. Yet mastery takes time, effort, and patience. And too many among us just don’t make that commitment. Lots of people have good ideas. But the masters become masters because they had the courage and conviction to act on ideas. Stick to it. We need Mastery.

We need Authenticity

Being an authentic leader is a common proposition. But it’s never been so important to be trustworthy. It’s never been so important to be someone others respect. It’s never been so important to keep the promises you make to your teammates and customers. It’s never been so essential to be authentic.

By being authentic we can gain more commitment from followers. As Dr. Seuss is alleged to have said, ‘Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.’

When we are authentic we give others permission to be authentic too. They begin to relax and open up. Trust grows. And amazing things start to happen. We need Authenticity.

We need Guts

Sharma states that you need no title to be a leader, but you do need to have huge toughness and big guts. To Lead Without a Title, we have to be unrealistically persistent and wildly courageous.

We must stay passionately committed to our vision and have the strength to keep expressing the absolute best within ourselves. And that takes confidence. We need Guts.

We need Ethics

Unfortunately in the cut throat world of business, ethics are not always core. Too many leaders cut corners. They go for the cash grab. They think only about themselves.

Sharma clearly points out that you will never go wrong in doing what’s right. Nothing is more precious in work than staying consistent with your values and protecting your good name. In so many ways, your reputation is all you have. We need to say what we mean and mean what we say. We need Ethics.

Turbulent Times Build Great Leaders

If we stick our heads under our desks and hope the march of change will go away, we’ll end up losing out. We need to face up to our challenges and meet them head-on with confidence. Holding back will only delay inevitable failure.

To Lead Without a Title is to start doing a lot more of what we know we should be doing every day in our work, but in the past have just been too timid to do. Lucky people don’t get lucky. Lucky people create lucky. Here’s how...

We must Speak with Candour

To be a Leader Without a Title, Sharma states we must face the difficult conversations that weaker people shy away from. Leaders without Title always communicate in a way that’s strikingly direct and stunningly real.

An organisation that has a culture where everyone’s afraid to speak candidly is a place where people live amid delusion and fantasy. We need to be honest. We need to be frank. We need to be sincere. We need to speak with candour.

We must Prioritise

It’s not hard to get distracted from our mission, vision, values, and goals. But Leaders Without a Title ‘stick to their knitting’. The stay centred upon only what’s truly most important. They focus to the point of obsession.

As a Leader Without a Title we need to focus on the few core activities that have the potential to lead us to mastery in our work. We need to prioritise and stick to the priorities.

Adversity Breeds Opportunity

Every setback carries with it an even greater opportunity. Leadership is about leveraging hard times and using them to your advantage. Sharma points out that Leaders Without a Title keep moving forward.

They recognise doing nothing in the face of turbulent times is the worst thing they can do. So they press on, facing up to the challenges, learning from failure and building on experience. We need to accept that adversity breeds opportunity.

We need to Respond versus React

The trap that many business-people fall into when challenges show up is to panic and spend their work hours fighting fires. They get up in the morning, go off to work, and waste all their time being reactive.

They become part of the problem rather than showing leadership by becoming the source of the solution. Leaders without a Title lean into the challenge. They respond to what is happening rather react to the happenings. They seek out the root cause, not the outcomes. We need to be Responsive.

We need Kudos

Sharma believes being a Leader without a Title involves using kudos to be inspirational in a world that all too often celebrates the worst of things.

Sharma also points out that our people need to be appreciated by giving them kudos — for even the smallest things that they do in the face of adverse and stressful times. We need to embrace Kudos.

The Deeper Your Relationships, the Stronger Your Leadership

Sharma points out the main business of business is to connect with — and add value to — people. We must treat people exceptionally well if we are serious about reaching our highest potential in business.

But before someone will lend a hand, we must touch their heart. He suggests the best way to inspire our teammates is to lead by example. Here’s how...

We need to be Helpful

We always need to do more than we are paid to do. Our compensation will always be a direct function of our contribution. Leaders without A Title are supports.

Peer supports or mentoring supports, our aim is to be there when our colleagues need us.

We need to Understand

To build world-class relationships, we not only need to be astonishingly helpful, it’s also imperative that we are masterful at understanding people.

And that comes down to one of the most important of all leadership skills: deep listening. Speaking less and listening more.

We need to Mingle

Being out there connecting with our teammates and networking with our customers is the road to success. We need to put a face to our business.

While it is easy in today’s digital world to connect remotely, there’s awesome value in circulation. Positive results and incredible victories begin to show up just because we’re out there mingling with the people you do business with.

We need to Amuse

Most of us think that work needs to be serious. We’re afraid that if we laugh and have some fun and get a bit playful at the right time, we’ll be perceived as wasting time and being unproductive.

But here’s the truth: having fun while we do great work will help boost our productivity. Fun makes us more engaged in whatever we are doing.

We need to Nurture

Twitter and blogs have shown that even one angry customer is one too many. Sharma suggests we leave every single person who intersects our path better, happier, and more engaged than we found them.

He tells us, as our grandmothers may also have, take care of people and the money will take care of itself. Help people get to their goals, and people will help us get every single one of ours.

To Be a Great Leader, First Become a Great Person

Sharma advocates the following mantra: lead yourself first. Only then will we get to a place as a person where we can lead others. Personal leadership — leading from the inside out, is the DNA of all enduring excellence. Here’s how….

We need to see Clearly

Every business result is the direct result of the collective behaviour of each of its people. And every action we take is the consequence of a thought. All our thinking drives your behaviour and your behaviour gives you your outcomes. We need to see clearly.

We need to recognise Health is Wealth

If we bring our health to its highest state, every other area — from our ability to think clearly during stressful times to our performance levels and moods — get pulled up with it.

We need to realise Inspiration Matters

A day without feeling inspired is a day that we haven’t fully lived. We need to replenish our inspiration levels every day, because the challenges of life drain it every day.

We must never Neglect our Family

Our loved ones matter. What’s the point of becoming super-successful, but ending up completely alone?

We need to Elevate our Lifestyle

Lifestyle isn’t something that we speak about very often. But it’s so important to a life well led. Do something every day to improve your lifestyle. So there you have it, Robin Sharma’s fable for growing and developing the leadership talent of every single person throughout your organisation.