Leadership is a title we bestow on those at Fortune 500 companies or team coaches. We rarely give the stay-at-home mom credit as an effective leader. Seldom do we turn to the quiet guy in the office, the one who consistently works hard producing a good result, as an example of leadership. But, both of those people are leaders. You are too.
Leadership isn’t something out there. We can all develop leadership qualities and we can all make a positive impact in the world because every time we come into contact with someone else, we have an opportunity to lead.
You express it in how you deal with setbacks, cope with disappointment, handle success. Your leadership qualities emerge when you think creatively or inspire your kids to get up and try again even though they just toppled off the bike or can’t hit the guitar chord. You are a leader in your own life and how you embrace those qualities determines the impact you’ll have on the lives of others.
You don’t have to lead the company, run for president, or become the classroom party mom to be a leader. You simply have to be willing and brave enough to express who you are when you connect with people in your life.
Qualities of Leadership
Below are some of the qualities we attribute to leaders. Look at the ways you already demonstrate those qualities in your own life, and then consciously choose to develop them further and become a difference maker in your community.
Be dedicated. Work hard. Commit to what you care about and then give it your best. You lead by example and when you’re shoulder to shoulder working you build a sense of teamwork with the others in your life. When you talk about eating healthy and then cook healthy meals for your family, you are leading. If you don’t care enough about something to dedicate yourself to it – then that’s good to know. That means, it’s time to step away from that particular issue.
Delegate, ask for help. Don’t do it all. Who cares if you could, you shouldn’t. There are going to be people that can do certain things better than you. Let them do it. Give them credit, appreciate their effort. This shows up even around the house. Sweet P takes pride in setting the table AND it’s a huge help to me. My husband is (dare I say it) much better and pulling the weeds, mowing the lawn and fixing clogged pipes and taking on the household tasks. I used to cling to some of those jobs because I wanted to appear strong and self-reliant. That was just foolish. He can do the work faster and better than I could, so now that’s his thing.
Operate with integrity. Whether it’s in business or the neighborhood association, in your family roles or among friends, operate with integrity. Do what you say you’re going to do. Admit when you make a mistake. Be fair. Be accountable and honest and respectful. This becomes easier when you know your values and what you stand for so that you can stay close to them. Knowing what matters to you means you’ll give more time to those things rather than the less important stuff. This can help you to keep from over committing and under-delivering. Honesty and integrity in everything, things big and little, are essential if you’re going to be a leader to your child or your co-workers.
Have a vision for yourself and the organization. I have a vision for my family and I’ve shared that with them. My daughter and husband have also shared their vision with me so that together we could create a unified mission and unit. We want to be a group that is kind and committed to each other. One that helps others has a lot of fun and learns and grows together. I also know what I want my career to look like.
I’m passionate about these visions. I get excited when I talk about these things and that inspires others. You must have a vision for yourself and your organization. You’ve got to know what you’re after so you know when you get there or can sense when you’re veering off track and redirect.
Then articulate your vision. Share it with others, be open to their ideas and flexible in your approach should the people in your life have a different, unique, or innovative perspective. Leaders that can articulate their vision and work with others to achieve it tend to inspire people. That makes good things happen.
Have fun. The best leaders I know are the people that not only have fun while they are working, but they also can poke fun at themselves. In my sister’s company they work like dogs to deliver amazing advertising campaigns to clients, but they also ride scooters down the cement hallways to office meetings and they have a happy hour at the end of the week. They have fun and it makes the work better too.
In my household, when we’ve got chores to do, we turn on what we call “Workin’ Music” and we get down while unloading the dishwasher or cleaning the toilets. We have fun. You can lighten up, laugh, and play and still be an effective leader. In fact play, is a key to creativity. Innovative ideas often come when it seems like you are just playing around.
Think about these qualities the next time you communicate with the checker, volunteer at your kid’s school, or meet with clients or company employees. Think about these points the next time your child balks at doing the chores or the PTA committee plans a school carnival for you to organize.
Each of our interactions – big and small – leave an impact. If you choose to express your leadership qualities in subtle or obvious ways you will make a positive difference.
Tune in Wednesday for a video from Drew Dudley who talks about just how powerful those interactions can be.
Photo by: Stock.xchng