Why Does Leadership Matter? Being an Effective Leader
Why does leadership matter? Well, showing up and being fully YOU (which is the mainstay of leadership) not only serves your family, your community, and your work environment, but it also is the best way to keep vibrantly alive, creative, optimistic, and totally involved in your own life adventure long term.
Whether you are aware of it or not, anytime you take responsibility for evolving an aspect of your life you are taking a new course and being a leader.
At its simplest, leadership is how the world expands and goes to a higher level. And it does so through you and every other person who, through much effort and a willingness to uncover the deepest self, takes that self to the next higher level over and over again.
Being a leader involves dealing with your emotional responses to a variety of situations, getting intimate with the right questions and identifying your wants and needs—then figuring out how to make them happen. By leading yourself, taking the next step, finding creative solutions to complex problems over and over, you end up making a substantial difference, not just in your own life but in the world around you.
Leadership brings opportunities, adventures, and learnings. It gifts you a competitive advantage.
When you are passive and do not take responsibility for your own growth and develop self-leadership skills, you are more likely to blame others for your lack of opportunity, unsatisfying work environment, and overall absence of hope. But if you step up when you see a gap, a lack, or an opportunity, not only will you fill that gap and address that opportunity, but you will begin shaping the world around you into the way you would like it to be.
Every single human being has the spark of leadership potential within them and can become a true leader. The question is whether they activate that inner spark or not. The external circumstances—the family and social and work environment—do not matter. You don’t need to research leadership development programs or take a transformational leadership course. Great accomplishment and solid leadership can be developed anywhere, anytime. Here’s an example.
A most significant impact
I was raised in South Africa. I have seen how difficult it is in developing nations for students graduating from high school to find jobs and growth opportunities. Often, in many situations like this, it’s easy for young people to develop their leadership potential by taking on negative leadership roles, running guns or smuggling drugs.
I remember one group of about 30 students with nothing but time on their hands and an absence of hope who ended up choosing to turn all the obstacles they faced into opportunity. Determined to do something good for the public sector with their time, they decided to fill all the potholes in the streets around where they lived until the area that was once derelict and unsafe became cleaner and drivable.
Pretty soon family members and the senior leaders in the community started to follow their lead. This led to a string of other community projects unfolding. Word got around and suddenly the group found themselves in the spotlight being interviewed by different people, including international media networks. This resulted in scholarships for each of the 30 young people and the promise of a job offer to each one upon graduation from college.
Talk about creating something from nothing! Talk about a great accomplishment of solid leadership! Somehow these young people realized that they had what they needed to begin a journey of great social value. They found common goals that tapped their inner leadership and leaned on their sense of altruism and servant leadership that ended up inspiring millions. They threw their whole selves into making a difference.
What you tell yourself about who you are and what you can do makes a substantial difference. It’s part of being a leader. Leaders talk themselves and their communities into bigger possibilities. They are not victims. Instead they see opportunities where none seem to exist.
Look around. Do you like what you see in your family? In your school or business? In your community. Your country? And if you don’t like what you see, what can you do to change it?
Here are a few things to get you thinking:
- Write down a time when you were a leader of some sort.
- Describe the event. It can be as simple as playing “Follow the Leader” as a kid. Were you always a follower, or did you always try to lead? Or was there a balance?
- How did it feel when you led? Leadership is often ignited by a decision about an event. Have you always been that way? If not, when did that start for you and what was happening for you at the time?
- How did it feel when you followed?
- Now that you are an adult, where and how do you play follow-the-leader? Or do you lead? Under what circumstances?
- Do you wait for opportunity to come to you? Or do you identify opportunities and “go for it,” showing others the way?
- Write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions around these questions.
Next, write down something you would like to have happen that will require you to lead the way—if only lead yourself!
- How will doing this affect you?
- How will it affect those around you?
- What new skillset do you need to develop to make this thing happen?
- What one new thought, feeling, and/or action can you take to start actualizing what you’d like to have happen?
Leadership matters. Own yours!
I look forward to showing you how to unleash your fullest potential and discover your leadership abilities. For more information about my 2024 events click here.