“Real leadership comes from the quiet nudging of an inner voice. It comes from realizing that the time has come to move beyond waiting to doing”
– Madeleine Albright
To get things done in this world you don’t need a credential, or a badge that says “leader.” If the world’s greatest writer wrote a book illustrated by the world’s greatest artist titled, How to Ride a Bicycle, it would be a poor substitute for sitting on a bike, finding your center of balance, and pushing on the pedals. We learn by doing. Leadership is no different.
Every time that you: A) imagine something being different, or being better than it is; B) decide to do something about it, either alone or with others; and C) act to make that change happen – YOU ARE DEMONSTRATING LEADERSHIP.
Leadership doesn’t require great scale. It doesn’t have to be obvious to everyone. Leadership is collaborative or distributed more often than it is positional. It doesn’t need to be heroic; it just needs to effectively move you toward a goal. You lead anytime you do things like:
- have the courage to challenge someone’s racist or sexist joke;
- accept responsibility for (and learn from) your failures;
- do what is right, rather than what is easy (to paraphrase Dumbledore);
- see the gifts and talents of others, and acknowledge them; or
- listen with the goal of understanding – even when someone’s views or values conflict with your own.
Anyone who has a vision for something different and the desire to make that change happen can be a leader.