The other day I was talking with a friend about leadership and I was saying that everyone is a leader, and he replied with a question, “What about people who don’t think of themselves as a leader?”
It was an interesting question- because for me- anyone who wants to make a difference and ends up making an impact with someone – somewhere.
Is a leader.
I’ve seen great leadership across the spectrum: in CEOs and entry-level employees, politicians and middle schoolers, clergy and people living on the street.
Many people believe that leadership comes only with a formal role or position. But as a leadership coach, I believe we’re all leaders.
Leadership doesn’t have to mean acquiring power or trying to change the world. It can be as simple as the daily acts we carry out living our lives—helping a neighbor, listening to a friend, standing up for a principle that’s important.
The difference between being a leader or not is being the person who claims it. Here are four ways you can begin claiming your own leadership tod
Believe you have something to offer. Leadership starts with how you see yourself—in particular, with the belief that you have something to offer to the world. That doesn’t mean you have to take on trying to change the world, but it means that as an individual you know you have something to offer, that you can reach other individuals and have a positive influence.
Dedicate yourself to making a difference. You have been given a life unlike any other. No one else is who you are, and your life will never be lived by anyone else, but the significance and direction of that life are largely up to you. Whether you’re young or old, you can make a difference for the good. Speaking a kind word, volunteering time, fundraising or donating for nonprofit organizations supporting things you feel strongly about—the ways to make a difference are limitless. Remember that each of us was born with a purpose.
Be sensitive to issues impacting others. If you aren’t already tuned in to your own sensitivity to others, the natural empathy we all have within us, start listening—not just superficially, but in a way that takes in people’s circumstances and state of being. Anyone can be a powerful leader if they’re prepared to hear and understand the emotions, fears, and hopes that underlie the words and actions of other people. When you do, you create the connections that are at the heart of great leadership.
Make the move. At the end of the day, only action produces results. Building relationships, developing others and making decisions are all important, but it is the actions that you take that will build your reputation as a great leader. Successful leaders have the courage to take action while other hesitate. Don’t just notice, don’t just discuss: get up and do something. If your actions inspire others to do the same—to dream more, learn more, and above all do more—you are a leader.
Lead from within: You are a leader if you make others better as a result of your presence. And when you do, you’ll continue to influence them long after you are gone.
Learn more about leadership in my National Bestseller book:
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- The Remarkable Power of the Truth Teller
- The Test Every Great Leader Must Pass
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness is being released by Portfolio May 2017.