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Wannabe Leadership or Real Leadership?
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 05/13/2013

Leadership sign We all want to think of ourselves as leaders when in reality, we may fall short of the characteristics and traits that makes a real leader. Today there are many people in leadership positions that possess no leadership qualities thus failing the organization and their co-workers. Leadership is more than a position as it involves certain elements that need to be identified and addressed in order to determine just what kind of person or employee you really are to the organization. Here is a list of traits, behaviors or identifiers that can help you assess your leadership qualities:

Your boss tells you get results but more common they are the wrong results leaving the job undone and not meeting expectations. Real leaders perform and get the job done with the desired outcome or goal. Getting no results or the wrong results does not meet the challenge of leadership. Co-workers and your bosses will identify you as a person that doesn't care about the job, the people you work with or the mannerism your indifference to the situations at hand impact others. The real test may be to see how much better off they are without your input or being led by them.

Specific character flaws such as “chasing a position” rather that a “higher purpose” is indicative of poor leadership qualities. First off, leadership is not positional but many think it is because a higher position attains more power and authority. Real leaders don't need power to get the job done. Chasing a promotion is selfish and does not benefit the team concept in many organizations. Real leadership is walking the talk and vice versa. Keeping promises and not keeping them is a common flaw of those that deliver rhetoric but no results or positive actions. Never meeting the vision or goal is detrimental to your ability to be successful as well as those around you.

Telling people what to do and how to do it does not qualify you as a leader. You may be their boss or supervisor but putting people in boxes to contain them rather than free them is contrary to leadership goals. Helping other people to get out of the box and be successful is true leadership. Wannabees often break rules to fit their own needs. This is represents their self-interest rather than the team benefits. Real leaders possess the ability to deliver success within the parameters given to work with.

Fake leadership can often drive good people away and creates tension and anxiety in the workplace. Real leaders attract and retain rather than repelling and losing good workers or employees. Taking credit for other people's work is the fastest way to lose someone as real leaders give credit to those around them making them successful as well as creating the leaders of the future. When you care more about yourself than other people, you have failed the self-assessment of leadership and confirmed the fact you are self motivated and self-interested in you being in the sun light rather than sharing it with others.

Editor’s note: Carl ToersBijns (retired), worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Car’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

Other articles by ToersBijns:


  1. Fred Davis on 06/17/2013:

    JFK gave much of his salary to charity. A good leader must be a good servant first. See how he was rewarded for his leadership?

  2. Cris Chantel Thomas on 05/14/2013:

    Great article! A true leader desires the engagement of his/her followers and most important the empowerment to make change in the profession and lives.

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