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Everyone is a Leader

May 8, 2012

The word leadership tends to be used for the formal leaders in organizations, commonly known as executives, c-suite or senior management. “The Leadership really communicates the vision well.” “The Leadership could be doing a better job.” “If only the Leadership would…”

Although the strength of leadership at the top level is vital, the reality is that leadership is not only reserved for these levels.  Mid-level professionals (middle management, functional managers, program/project managers, department managers, group leads, team leads, team members) either have direct/in-direct reports and have been in charge of leading a department, project or initiative; or they are important contributing members in charge of managing their own work and supporting co-workers.  Regardless of our current role, each one of us is in a position to lead others through our knowledge, actions and attitude.  At the very minimum, we are in charge of leading ourselves which means that everyone is a leader.  The only variable exists in how well we pull it off.  Are we productive or destructive?  Part of the solution or the problem?

Additional questions may surface around how we can lead ourselves when others are telling us what to do, what to learn, how to act, or even limiting our options for our next position.  In some cases, they may not be saying anything at all which can leave us in a position of uncertainty.  Sure, some of this is out of our control, yet it is worth considering that our own lack of clarity may be getting in the way.  If we are unsure about what we want, unhappy with our current situation, spending time placing blame/complaining, feeling like a victim, wanting more fulfillment…we owe it to ourselves to look within in hopes to reveal some important information.  Some potentially relevant questions may be as follows.

  • What is it that I need today to be successful with my current role/tasks/projects?
  • What is it that I want more of in my work overall?
  • What has been preventing me from having it?
  • When I have more of what I want, what will be different for me?
  • In turn, how will the company benefit?

Knowing the answers to these types of questions can help us take more ownership over our own development and position within the company.  Being able to verbalize what we need and want gives us a basis to have more productive conversations and opens the door for additional support.

Many people sit and wait and stew thinking it is their boss’s responsibility to initiate these conversations.  Certainly, it would be nice if all bosses had the forethought, time, skills and vested interest to work through this with us, yet the fact that this does not always exist should not be an excuse to give up on our professional endeavors.  The waiting/blame game is overrated and only leaves us feeling stuck and un-motivated.  Let’s begin to lead ourselves with the same standards we expect from others.

Join the conversation by commenting below.  How do you lead yourself despite what is going on around you?

© Viage Partners 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Viage Partners with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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