Our conventional understanding of “leadership” is premised on a couple of mistruths:
Mistruth 1: Leadership comes with a title.
Mistruth 2: Leadership is something you have to ‘find time’ to do.
These mistruths keep us stuck in a fixed leadership mindset and deny the incredible power within each of us to influence ourselves and others, regardless of profession, title or accomplishments. The following three counter intuitive truths about leadership embrace a growth mindset and honor self-leadership as a means of leading others.
Counter Intuitive Truth #1: Everyone is a Leader
Everyone is a leader – including you! You’re leading yourself and others every second of every day, whether consciously or unconsciously.
With every interaction, you influence others.
Whether you’re dealing with the barista at your favorite coffee shop or a close colleague, through your interactions you have the ability to influence:
- A person’s day
- the way a person feels about themselves
- whether a person has confidence in you
- whether a person feels a sense of belonging, feels appreciated and feels inspired to work hard
- and on and on and on…
When I realized my ability to influence others on a micro and a macro level, it was a game changer. I started thinking about how I want to make other people feel when they’re in my presence – seen, understood, valued, energized and more inspired than they felt before I walked into the room. I didn’t always approach my daily interactions with this level of purpose. Instead, I went through my day as if I didn’t really matter. But I do. And so do YOU!
Counter Intuitive Truth #2: Leadership Isn’t a Stand-Alone Task
Leadership isn’t a stand-alone task, you’re doing it all the time whether you realize it or not.
To illustrate this truth, think about the most inspirational leader in your life – whether or not it’s someone you know personally.
What is it about that person that makes them a dynamite leader?
You’re probably not listing off their title or accomplishments…you’re thinking about their character and how they make you feel, right?
No doubt, your leader inspires you to be better. Just because of who they are. THAT’s leadership!
Now think of someone that makes you feel discouraged, disengaged and bad about yourself – we all know plenty of these so-called “leaders,” don’t we? Unfortunately, this also is a form of leadership — an unconscious one. These leaders aren’t necessarily bad people. They may be stuck in a fixed leadership mindset — thinking that their title requires them to “lead” by making demands and knowing all the answers. And they likely haven’t done the work necessary to positively influence themselves and others.
Leadership isn’t something you have to ‘find time’ for. It’s about knowing who you are and bringing your truest self to every interaction.
After all, we’re human ‘beings,’ not human ‘doings.’
Counter Intuitive Truth #3: Self-Leadership is the Key to Leading Others
Leadership is the essence of how you present your authentic self to the world. By getting clear on who you are, what matters to you and how you want to show up, you’ll become a leader in your own life so that you can more consciously influence yourself and those around you.
You may be asking – “how can I go about doing that?”
Well, it’s a process, but you can start by answering these questions:
Who are you at your core? How do you want others to perceive you?
What do you value? What are your natural gifts?
How do you want people to feel when they’re with you?
How can you bring these characteristics to everything you do?
If you truly accepted that you have the ability to influence others in every.single.interaction (because you do!), how would you show up differently?
“Life’s too short to be anything but the truest, boldest version of yourself!”
P.S. These are big, important and sometimes overwhelmingly difficult questions. I help high-achieving professionals live and lead bigger. If you’d like some support exploring these questions to enhance your self-leadership, let’s connect!