I occasionally hear clients express that they do not think of themselves as leaders. When I ask how they came to that conclusion, their typical answer aligns with the message that they do not manage, supervisor, or oversee a team. Since the idea of leadership and its definition are routinely portrayed by a position or person, is it surprising that people remain confused and tend to assume they are not leaders? With the hope of dispelling any confusion on leadership and who is eligible, I define leadership as influence and propose that everyone is a leader. Leadership is a choice.
Leadership is also a muscle. Like all muscles, leadership needs a good workout to stay strong and fit. The first step in growing leadership is to assess and establish your leadership baseline. On a continuum of 1 to 10, where is your current level of leadership engagement?
- I am unsure of the definition of leadership and the characteristics of a good leader
- I question whether I am a leader
- I believe I am a leader but do not often practice leadership
- I have doubts about my leadership abilities but still try to lead
- I know I am a leader and am fully aware of my leadership strengths and growth areas
- I educate myself on leadership and welcome those few opportunities to practice it
- I routinely accept leadership opportunities presented to me
- I purposefully seek opportunities to strengthen my leadership abilities
- I create opportunities for me to lead and grow my leadership
- I create or provide opportunities for others to increase their leadership capacity
A leadership rating of 10 signifies a leader who is growing the next generation of leaders through coaching and creating opportunities for them to practice. Great leaders know there is a time to lead and a time to follow, and even great leaders know when they are to follow and not lead. When they follow, you might assume they are leading from behind.
Growing leadership capacity and strengthening leadership ability is a lifelong journey and available to anyone who chooses. The second step in growing leadership is to ask yourself these questions:
- What will I lead?
- How will I lead?
- When will I Iead?
- Where will I lead?
- Will I choose to lead?
Answers to these questions help a leader formulate a leadership vision and goals to increase their leadership capacity and abilities.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development. She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops that address her clients’ business needs. She has a passion to help organizations fully engage all its employees. Reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.