What IS leadership, anyway?

Photo of four origami boats following the lead of a fifthLeadership is not a title.

It’s not limited to a specific role or job or work to be done.

Leadership is a way of being.

It’s how you are in the world, what you say and what you do, and whether those words and actions are aligned and congruent – and even if they’re not.

You may be thinking you’re not a leader – but I believe everyone is a leader.

Not in the “you can do anything you want” sort of fluff.

You are a leader in what you say and what you do, in person or on social media.

There are people who are observing you who may model their behavior on yours, or who are influenced by you in some way.

This can be as seemingly small as the smile you offer a neighbor on your way to the mailbox, or as harsh as the screaming fight you engage in with a family member or in your neighbor’s driveway – or whether you choose not to engage in the screaming, whether in person or online in social media.

People are looking at you and reading what you post. People are looking at you in the office and on Zoom and in your emails, and observing your behavior and hearing your words.

When we take a stand for something – anything at all – we are showing others what’s possible. By what we say and do, we give others permission to say and do something similar. We’ve seen this, writ large, in the political arena of the last four years.

What permission are your words and actions giving to others?

Our actions reveal who we are as leaders - even if we don't have the offical title. What we say and do gives others permission to act in similar ways. I'm thinking about how I show up and what permission I'm offering!Click To Tweet

Think about yourself as a leader. And remember this:

“Leadership is a tool, not a value, and effective leaders can be abhorrent forces in the world. I try to remind myself never to say admiringly that someone is a great leader. Instead I try to be more specific. Not all great leaders are leaders for good.”  ~ Ryan Derousseau

Good leadership – compassionate, sensible, grounded leadership – is desperately needed, now more than ever.

How are you showing up as a leader?


This is a core component of the Manifesto for my work, which you can read here.

How are you perceived by your team and your colleagues? Maybe not quite as you might prefer: Are you scary?

Maintaining, developing, and supporting the corporate culture is a key aspect of leadership. Here’s the link to the Virtual Corporate Culture Communication Challenge. The interactive portion of the Challenge is over, but I think you’ll find the material helpful to work through on your own – and I answer all comments. 


gljudson Management & Leadership