Everyday acts of everyday leadership

A silhouetted group of business people facing forward in a loose groupingWhat’s one leadership quality you have?

Think for a moment. What is it?

Some of you reading this may immediately come up with a whole list. Good for you. Congratulations.

But some of you reading this may be drawing a blank. Or maybe you can think of something, but you’re not sure if it’s actually a leadership quality, since you’re not officially a leader – you’re “just” an individual team member, or you’re “just” a manager, or you’re “just” (fill in the blank with your own “just” qualifier).

You don’t need permission to be a leader

Leadership isn’t bestowed upon anyone from outside.

Yes – I hear you thinking it – some people are promoted into a leadership role. But let’s be real here: how many people have you known who were in a leadership role, but weren’t really leaders? (I can think of a few, to say the least!)

We think of leadership as something we do

And to some extent, that’s true. But much more than that, it’s how we are. It’s how we show up in the world, whether that’s going to the mailbox or standing in front of an audience or coaching an employee to do better or checking out at the grocery store.

We give permission through our everyday actions

While no one needs permission to be a leader, we all nonetheless take cues from others about how to behave.

And that means there are people out there who see you, and – whether consciously or not – think … hmm. Look at that. If they can do that, so can I.

By choosing when and how to act or speak, we model a particular kind of behavior, and that gives people who witness our choices … permission to do the same.

And in that way, every day, we’re being a leader.

Interested in more on this? My program Meet your Inner Leader goes into depth on how we can define a personal model of leadership that guides how we show up and the ways in which others perceive us. Let’s talk about how it might fit into your organization’s leadership development plans.