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A Different Way To Look At Leadership

A Different Way To Look At Leadership

First let me start by giving you the definitions of Leadership found on Merriam-Webster.com:

  • A position as a leader of a group, organization, etc.
  • The time when a person holds the position of leader
  • The power or ability to lead other people

Obviously there is no disputing these definitions. They all seem like perfectly accurate definitions. But, they are definitions based on the most widely held idea of what Leadership is. All three of these refer to a leader as a position someone holds, where they lead other people, groups or organizations.

We tend to think of Leaders as business owners, CEOs, all levels of management. political leaders or leaders in global issues. But, what about everyone else?

What if we changed our perception of what leading is and thought of everyone as a leader? What if we looked at leading as, simply, a way we help move ourselves and others into action? In doing so, we aren’t limiting our thinking and we can acknowledge the power we all have and exhibit everyday.

What if the current discourse on Leadership didn’t create articles like “Things Leaders Do Differently,” or “10 Signs You Are Born Leader,” (as examples.) Articles that make Leadership exclusive. Articles that imply Leaders are elite. What if instead of the current Leadership “Box” we expanded the definition to include everyone?

The question wouldn’t be whether or not we are all leaders, it would be how well we lead.

Let’s look at a few examples of how we, as leaders, lead every day.

1 – When we get out of bed in the morning, who is the person deciding to get up, get dressed, go to work, fulfill your responsibilities?
2 – If you have kids, who are they looking to for guidance, to help them make decisions, help them find their way?
3 – If you are part of a support staff, in any role OTHER than what is considered a leadership role, if you do the job you’re hired to do, who is leading you through every minute of your day? Who is making the decision to get to work on time, stay until your work is done, contribute to the growth of your company?

The answer to all of those questions is YOU. You lead you first.

You have the power to lead yourself. You decide to get your work done, you decide to do a good job (or not,) you decide how to conduct yourself, how to approach colleagues, etc. How well you do anything is up to you. You may be great or you may suck. But, you can change your personal leadership style. It’s all on you.

By thinking about leading as something we already do, it may alleviate the unnecessary pressure projected onto us to become a leader, as it is commonly defined.

You don’t have to strive to BECOME a leader. If you accept that you already are a leader, all you need to do, should you choose, is strive to conduct yourself in the best way you can, and become a better leader.

This article previously appeared on LinkedIn.


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