Depending upon your personality, being labeled as “leader” can have either very good or very bad connotations. Some of us find ourselves in leadership positions without much effort or trepidation while others try and avoid the role like the plague. Regardless, I believe everyone is called to lead from time to time – and everyone can be a leader. If you’ve been asked to volunteer for a leadership position, it can be helpful to remember the ways you have been a leader in the past. Don’t think you’ve got any? Let me start with some common examples not often tied to the word “leadership.”
A stay-at-home parent is one of the most common leadership roles. The parent is providing leadership not only for the children, but often for the entire household. They make decisions, get groups of people to cooperate and have a vision for the goals of their home.
A good dog owner is called the “pack leader.” The leader in a dog pack defines what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. They also choose when certain activities (like eating and sleeping) will take place.
In a group of three or more adults deciding where to eat, one person becomes the leader whether they intend to or not. They assign tasks (like listing options), provide guidance and often ultimately make the decision for the group.
Now, you may argue that some of these examples are “weak” definitions of leadership, but I would disagree. With every leadership opportunity (big or small) comes the chance to hone your skills. As skills are improved, leadership becomes natural. And as leadership becomes more natural, new opportunities (often more “significant”) become more readily available.
So the next time you find yourself in a not-officially-labeled leadership position, ask yourself how can you maximize the opportunity to improve your skills. Make note of what tools you already have that you can utilize. And most importantly, analyze what went well and what could have gone better. It won’t take long before you believe that everyone can be a leader, too.
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