Posted on August 18 2018
Anyone can be a leader.
Okay, how many times have we heard that without any direction as to how exactly one can become a leader? To be a leader, do you have to literally lead a large group of people – like being a president of a corporation or country? Does being “in charge” make you a leader? Do you need a fancy title or have to do the lion’s share of the work?
Drew Dudley, in his TEDtalk “Everyday Leadership,” makes the case that being a leader is so much more basic than all of that. That we can all lead in small and simple ways every.single.day. That the examples we set are how we actually “lead.” Consider that every day, we have the opportunity (and the responsibility) to touch the life of someone – and we may not even realize that we’re doing it. Mr. Dudley also posits that we often make being a leader a much bigger deal than it is. He states, “…as long as we make [leadership] about changing the world, we give ourselves an excuse not to expect it every day from ourselves and from each other” (2010). Sometimes the smallest interactions with us are what people remember, and what inspire them to make changes in their own lives; when we make it into this big deal, we excuse ourselves from trying to lead.
Like so many things, being a leader – a true leader – isn’t usually something that just… happens. Of course some people are more “born” leaders. But think about the qualities that make a good leader, and you can see how those qualities can be taught and cultivated. The biggest quality is simple self-confidence, which is hard to have if you don't believe in your capabilities in the first place. This is why modbod clothing contains affirmations; self-talk is important in how we see ourselves in the world. But as they say, "anyone can be a leader." How so? Maybe it isn't just a specific set of qualities that makes a good leader, but that there are so many different kinds of leaders that different strengths simply are important in different situations - and "anyone can be a leader" using the strengths that they have. My kids go to school at an elementary that employs the “Leader in Me” program by Franklin Covey. They utilize “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” to teach kids to grow up as leaders, calling them “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.”
These Habits are:
- Be Proactive
- take responsibility for your own actions
- Begin with the End in Mind
- Set goals
- Put First Things First
- Think Win-Win
- Others don’t have to lose for us to win
- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- Get along with others
- Sharpen the Saw
- Take care of yourself
Now, these are simplified for kids, but there’s nothing wrong with simple! We can utilize all of the above in our very complicated adult lives.
Leadership isn’t about bossing people around – it’s about showing them the best way by what we do ourselves. Setting a good example is harder than just bossing people around because it requires you to do something, rather than just tell someone else to do something. And as you can see from the above, most of leadership starts with yourself, anyway, rather than with other people.
So, instead of trying to change the world, we should probably start with changing ourselves.