My biggest area of growth over the past year (or five) has been in understanding and being comfortable with demonstrating leadership. My issue has always been not wanting to be perceived as a person who is overstepping or meddling in areas of the company where I don’t directly “work.” What I’ve come to learn (through some wonderful leadership) is that this thought goes against the very act of being a leader.
Having said that, there’s definitely an art to demonstrating leadership, an art that I’m still (happily) learning. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Realize that there is no reward without the risk. Sometimes, you are going to make a wrong step. Instead of running for the hills, own it, look for the learning, and take another step forward.
- The greatest leaders don’t have any ego around people not taking their suggestions. They recognize that sometimes leadership is the act of just starting a conversation that leads to a breakthrough.
- Leadership is how other people see you. Saying you are a leader doesn’t mean you are one. Actions definitely speak louder than words.
- Sometimes, just sometimes, people aren’t comfortable when others demonstrate leadership. But, I’m going to be blunt here … TOUGH. That’s their problem, not yours. Their fear and insecurities shouldn’t dictate your growth. Stay centered in knowing that being a leader doesn’t mean you’re trying to be better than other people—you’re just trying to better yourself and your company.
- There are different types of leadership. Leadership doesn’t always mean leading a group of people or an organization. I asked Dan Sullivan what his definition of leadership was, and without hesitation, he answered, “Providing a convincing and motivating why for a bigger and better future result.” This blew the door wide open for me. Looking at my role as a project manager/program designer, I could easily see that I demonstrate leadership by initiating program innovation (creating content), then connecting it to all areas of the organization. It’s what the company counts on me for. I own it.
Companies can never have too much leadership. In fact, the most successful organizations are full of it (leadership, that is!). I think a leadership revolution is definitely in order.
Are you up for the challenge? Who’s with me?