When we think about leadership, some of us are not sure that we are leaders.
This is question that I hear often from women. When we think about leadership, some of us are not sure that we are leaders. When we think of leadership, we most often associate it with a title or a position. You are a manager, director, pastor, VP or CEO. But I’d like to challenge us to broader our definition of leadership. John Maxwell (well known author and leadership guru) defines leadership as influence. I love this leadership proverb: “He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk.”
So with this new definition of leadership, do you think you are a leader? Think about this for a moment. Who are the people you lead and who are the people who follow you? According to Tim Elmore – “Sociologists tell us the most introverted of people will influence 10,000 others in an average lifetime.” That’s a lot of people that we are influencing!
As we think of this expanded definition of leadership let’s consider some other roles or positions that we don’t often consider. Do you have followers on social media? Guess what? That makes you a leader. Are you raising teenagers at home who you are influencing every day? That makes you a leader.
But leadership doesn’t stop once we have followers. It’s something that we need to develop. Becoming a great leader doesn’t happen overnight. The good news is that there are things you can do to develop your leadership skills. Here are a few to get you started:
- Be willing to invest in yourself
- We need to spend time developing skills and learning to become stronger leaders. First, identify those skills that you want to develop. Then consider taking a class on leadership, read articles or books, or listen to a leadership podcast. We have access to so much information, we just have to be intentional about taking the time to learn more.
- Get a mentor
- Find a leader that you admire and that has skills that you want to develop. For example, if you want to become a better listener (a key leadership skill) than find someone who does this really well, like a counselor and spend time with them. Ask them questions about how they’ve learned that particular skill and advice for how you can develop it too.
- Ask for feedback
- A great way to grow is to ask those who are following you how you are doing. This can be a bit challenging, but this will help us identify what we’re doing well but also any blind spots we may have. Some questions you can ask: What am I doing well? What do I need to improve? What can I do differently to help support you? It’s important to know and leverage your strengths but It’s just as important to identify areas where you need to develop. If you’re shy about asking this in person, send a short survey to those you lead. You’ll be surprised at what you learn!
No matter who you’re influencing you owe it to them and yourself to be the best possible leader that you can be. And remember to check and make sure that you’re not walking alone! Let’s set up a free consultation!