Are you REALLY a Leader?
What does it means to you to be a leader? Do you self identify as a leader? If so, how do you define what is unique about your leadership? If you don’t identify as a leader, why not?
My perspective is that everyone has leadership potential that gets conditioned into or out of them. Sometimes circumstances choose leaders. Sometimes people choose leaders, and sometimes people seek leadership.
Many of my clients are leaders and very successful at what they do – and some secretly aren’t confident or clear about their leadership impact or don’t readily identify themselves as a leader. They may not tell you this, but this is what gets revealed in a private conversation.
I have known people in significant leadership positions who feel like an imposter – one day they will be found out. This is more common that you might realize. I have also known people who are not in formal leadership positions, and don’t want to be – but they have a significant and positive impact on those around them. And of course there are those who would rather be in the background, and are terrified of leading, but will be the first one to criticize how someone else is leading.
Let’s be clear – leading, especially these days, is a very hard job. Leaders are held to a higher standard than everyone else. And the context for leading today is especially challenging. We are all almost constantly living in transition – from what was, to what could or needs to be. No matter your industry, all the old systems and ways of doing things no longer work or irrelevant. Some are excited and embrace this way of being, but many of us are overwhelmed or struggling to let go of the old and embrace the new. We are constantly pulled in a million directions challenged with focus, consistency and leading in ambiguous, uncertain times.
So, what does it mean to be a leader today?
Here’s my sense of what it means – you lead people or projects, or possess thought leadership that captures people’s attention and imagination. You have people who listen when you speak. They follow your direction. You have a positive impact on people.
Today people can lead from anywhere – working inside an organization, or being a consultant working with organizations. They can lead in their personal or private lives. How you self-identify is critical to what kind of energy you put out there – how you move forward and what kind of an impact you have on those listening to you.
This is exactly what I do with my clients – help them build clarity and a well-integrated sense of your identity as a leader. This leads to greater confidence, which leads to living in more ease, and having a deeper impact on your constituents.
My reflection questions for you this week/end: What do you stand for or want to be known for? How do you know you are having a positive impact on people? How is the impact you have on others connected to your greatest gift or talent? How can you deepen this impact?
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