I strongly believe that everyone leads, each & every day. I mean it, EVERYONE leads! You, me, the person next to you, the person opposite you, the children in the classroom, the teenager in the park, the strange man at the end of the bar, the retired person you pass in the street and the old person in the nursing home, every single one of us!
Because leadership is about connection and influence. Let me define that a little more; we connect with others each and every day, whether we like it or not. When we see, hear or talk to someone we are making a connection and that connection influences us. It influences us to :
– Think about whether we agree with what they are doing/saying, or not.
– Decide if we like that person, or not
– Consider whether their views, opinions or experiences will influence our own, or not
– Choose to spend time with them, or not.
– Trust them, or not
These are just a few examples and these and more decisions that we take may be conscious or may take place without consciousness involved, either way, they happen.
Let's move on to consider what this means in reality.
This means, that each and every moment of each and every day, when we are in contact or even the presence of others our leadership ability is being assessed.
I really, really, really want to move you on from a view (that many have) that leadership is a work thing, it really isn't, it is a life thing. It is about how you connect and influence other people each and every moment of each and every day.
Yes I am liking the words 'each and every' and for good reason too. You need to leave this blog post with your eyes widened, you are leading, NOW, as you read this, NOW, this very second.
Just let that responsibility sink in for a second ………….
Ok. So how does this matter to you?
It matters on two fronts:
You need to be aware.
You need to be authentic.
If we work on the basis that every time you are speaking to, walking past, standing near, sitting opposite or even just in the vicinity of another human being your ability to connect and influence (for this blog post purpose = LEAD) is being tested. This in turn means that each and every (there it is again) choice you make about what you think & feel really, really matters.
Similarly, the phrase 'I will fake until I make it' just will not cut it. Why? Because nobody can fake it 100% of the time. It takes too much effort and energy and others will see through it.
To succeed in connecting and influencing (remember for the purpose of this blog post, that = LEADING) others we need to be consistent and congruent. Yes, there will be times when you make mistakes, act out of character, say something you regret and you need to remember, you are fallible (for more on fallibility in leadership see this blog post). As long as you notice this fallibility and apologise for and/or explain it, others will understand.
The challenge for you (if you choose to accept it); is to become more aware of the choices you make each and every day (well spotted, there is it again) and decide whether that you are happy with the connection and influence this had over others.
How do you define leadership?
What split (if any) do you put on home and work?
Do you think everyone leads?
P.S. you may now be thinking that others have a connection and influence with others (or me) that I don’t like. This may well be true, I have deliberately steered clear of the intent and goal of leadership as that is also a personal thing. That leads me to ask you to consider another question:
What is your leadership goal or philosophy?