By: Kim Underhill - Founder & Head Trainer, Ultimate Balance Consultancy
You do not need a great career to be a leader
We are all constantly leading ourselves and our family. Leadership is the ability to influence ourselves, our peers and team members to achieve extraordinary results. It happens everywhere, at work and at home.
Who are the leaders?
During my workshops on Leadership, I always start by identifying who the leaders in the room are. More often than not, I only see a few hands from managers themselves, or people pointing out who their managers are. Occasionally, I overhear some whispering that they are definitely not leaders.
I am amazed by how quickly people are able to identify others as leaders, but never give any thought about themselves.
Who leads you on a daily basis?
For those who did not raise their hands, I always follow up by asking, who was leading them on a daily basis? I typically get moments of silence before seeing someone’s light bulb go off when they realize that they are indeed leading themselves!
At home, it is often assumed that parents are the leaders. At work, it is The Boss. So many people automatically go into “follower mode”. Instead of becoming responsible for their own growth, they often wait for someone else to provide them with direction in their career or personal lives.
How do I get a leadership role?
I once had a meeting with a project engineer who was with a company for nearly 10 years. When asked what he aspired to be, his immediate reply was that he wanted more responsibility. But no one in the company ever noticed him, much less offer him training. For someone with aspires to have a leadership role, shouldn’t he make an effort to plan the path and act upon it to get closer to his objectives?
Unfortunately, this is not the case for many. It is interesting how easily people blame their failures on everything and everybody. Instead of seeking self-improvement, we have the tendency to wait for somebody else to lead us instead of leading ourselves.
It is only through leading ourselves that we find our own self-worth. When I started managing a small team 15 years ago, I realized that returning to night school could improve my management and leadership skills. And so I graduated with an Executive Master of Science Industrial Organizational Psychology and Management of Human Resource.
At home, I often encourage my children to decide what they want for themselves, even though I am the head of the household. They need to take the first step, to want something badly enough, to discuss details with me before making a decision.
So start thinking about how you lead yourself and the people around you. It is important to note that every action we take has to have an impact on our own growth.