What exactly is leadership? Are leaders born or made? What are some key leadership traits that we identify?
There are many opinions about leadership in our culture, and it is my belief that many more of us are leaders than we recognize.
Service. It is the teacher who advocates for students year after year while spending his/her own money for supplies and writing lesson plans on the weekends.
Doing the work. It is the thinly stretched parent who reads to the kids night after night because they know the value of reading and the importance of just spending time.
Tough Mindedness. It is the chef who pushes his team towards excellence every day, training them with hard earned technique and knowledge.
Courage. It is the kid who stands up to a bully for his friend, even at the risk of getting hurt.
Listening. It is the friend who takes the late night distress call, offering compassion and counsel.
Accountability. It is the CEO who makes hard decisions every day to strengthen his business and provide a livelihood for the families that work for him.
Learning. It is the manager who supports an employee through a mistake or failure, to bring about learning that would otherwise not have occurred.
Encouragement and growth. It is the teacher who makes a comment to a student that allows them to blossom into an area they would never have expected.
Do you call yourself a leader? Have any of the above actions ever applied to you, to your life? Start noticing these moments, in yourself and in others. It is important that we recognize when we are making an impact, when we are leading. It empowers us and those we are trying to help grow. While it is true that some people are natural born leaders, it is equally true that leadership can be developed. It takes guts, reflection, a willingness to put aside the ego for the greater good, and an adherence to personal values. It also takes an inclination to continue learning and practice self-leadership throughout the leadership journey.
We are accustomed to evaluating leadership on a macro level. We relate to it in terms of presidents, CEO’s and community leaders. But leadership happens every day, by all types of people – introverts and extroverts, at the national or international level, on main street and in the home.
For more on Everyday Leadership, check out this Ted Talk by Drew Dudley (6 min)
This post is a part of Gray Matter’s “What is Leadership?” Series
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