Popular culture has continually framed our idea of leadership to be something that is bigger than the individual. Because of this, we treat the title “leader” as something that one day we’ll deserve while giving little thought to the small things we do daily and how they are transformational to the lives around us. Leadership IS these small moments and you can be extraordinarily powerful simply by changing one person’s understanding of his/her ability. Here are five things you can do to be an everyday leader:
1. Operate with Integrity – in both personal and professional contexts, you will encounter and have to solve increasingly and incredibly complex issues. Ask yourself, “What is the RIGHT thing to do?” Don’t follow society’s path of focusing on the accumulation of financial wealth to answer these questions. With integrity, focus on generating spiritual, emotional, relationship, intellectual and creative wealth for your stakeholders when selecting the resolution. At the end of the day, business will never be as profitable as betterness.
2. Your “Say-Do Ratio” – there is a direct correlation between developing a reputation for doing what you say you’ll do and leading people. Humans are drawn to others who are credible and trustworthy. By continually setting expectations, and then fulfilling your obligations to those expectations, you will see how the speed of trust creates an inspired vision and following faster. You will unlock human potential and create a pay-it forward mentality that will impact more lives than you could ever touch yourself.
3. Embrace Difficult Tasks – I find it fun and rewarding to discover answers to hard problems. So should you. Do not be afraid of tough jobs, embrace them and the professional development you’ll experience. When given the choice between two projects, always error on the side of accepting the bigger challenge. Those in your circle of influence will recognize the achiever in you and be inspired to follow suit creating an upward spiral of accomplishment and societal benefit.
4. Ask the Right Questions – as an everyday leader, your job is to listen actively, simply stuff and be predictable. You must get better at understanding situational context, be able to clarify and crash together disparate ideas and ask the right questions that create introspective thought in your stakeholders. Ask questions that are specific to and tailored to the strengths of the person you are speaking with. You have to plan to be strategic with your people and moving them towards a shared goal. Be sure to dedicate time regularly.
5. Have a Sense of Urgency – regardless of your goal, drive towards it with a strong desire to win. In the 21st century, high performance is simply an entry ticket to the dance. Our world is evolving at an increasing rate and you must push yourself, and inspire others, to make key decisions often based on limited information. Make sacrifices. Work hard. Move fast. Get results.
Leadership is not something that you may deserve at some point in the future. It is something that you are right here, right now. Do not devalue the seemingly small things you can do to change someone’s life. Do not be frightened by the fact that you actually matter that much. Do not fear that you are actually powerful beyond measure. Perhaps, it is our light and potential, not our darkness that scares us. Provide others with hope. Live up to your potential. Be an everyday leader.