Leadership As A Part of Everyday Life
I am always thinking about, learning about, and practicing leadership. Really. Always. It is such an important concept and practice. Yes, professionally, and even more importantly, for me, in every aspect of my life.
Well, that’s what we’ll look at in this new series. There are so many questions to look at and discuss when it comes to leadership. Seriously. So many. Here are just a couple.
- Why is leadership such an important concept?
- Why is it so important to practice?
- Why is it important to understand?
- What are the types of leadership?
- Why are there so many types?
- What’s the right type for me?
- How do I become a leader?
And? Oh, there are so many more.
Alright, in this first article, we are going to unpack leadership as a concept and practice. Ready? Great. Let’s get started by defining leadership. Yep. here we go.
Pronunciation /ˈlēdərˌSHip/ /ˈlidərˌʃɪp/
Translate leadership into Spanish
The action of leading a group of people or an organization.
The state or position of being a leader.
The leaders of an organization, country, etc.Lexico
Okay. Here we see that leadership is identified with leading a group of people or organization or being in a leadership position.
Yet, what does that really mean?
Before we get to that question, let’s try one more definition. The definitions are all a little different. Here we go.
noun US /ˈliː.dɚ.ʃɪp/ UK /ˈliː.də.ʃɪp/
the set of characteristics that make a good leader
the position or fact of being the leaderCambridge Dictionary
Alright, we now have an additional concept in this new definition. Leadership in this definition is also associated with a particular set of characteristics. Yet, which ones? Hm. Confusing.
Well, let’s assuage some of our confusion by unpacking these definitions, shall we? Good. Here we go.
Leadership as Leading People
Right, so leading people. Yes, yes, that is a part of leadership. Or, as I usually like to write, one piece of a whole. The whole you ask? Good question.
The whole of leadership as a principle and practice is a system. And, like all systems, it starts with each of us. The way we think and feel about leadership; our hopes, dreams, goals, and objectives. Yep, all of them.
In fact, all leadership starts with leading oneself. What does that mean?
It means that the way we treat ourselves, the principles and values we believe in, and the way we practice those principles and values are exactly how we lead.
Some people think that you can lead your life at home one way, and then lead your life at work in another way. Not so. Believe me, I’ve tried it. It just doesn’t work.
How you lead at home is the same as the way you lead at work. They are one.
Some of you right now might be thinking, as I once did, that’s not true; I have a set of values at home and a different set of values at work.
However, I am inviting you to consider that, in fact, believing that we hold different values at home than we hold at work is mere confusion. And?
That confusion will seep out into all that we do.
We can call that discord. And, that discord will confuse you, yes, and everyone else around you. Really. And, with confusion comes tension, disagreement, and disengagement.
Well, getting clear on your principles and values is a start. As is understanding why you treat yourself as you do; meaning, creating an awareness of yourself for yourself. Important. Then?
Let go of the principles and values that no longer serve you, and create new ones. We are creative beings first, and leaders second. All of us. Create symmetry between the self you are at home and the self you are at work.
You are one person after all. Create the leader you know yourself to be. One step at a time. Then?
Creating leadership symmetry
- What are your hopes, dreams, and aspirations?
- What do you value and why?
- Why are you the person you are today?
- Why do you do what you do?
Create symmetry between your personal life and your professional life. As was aforementioned, they are one and the same anyway. Time to connect the two. There is tremendous power in this conceptual and practical example. And, then?
Well, with symmetry and practice, you will lead people. And, you will lead them from a space that is centered and clear on what you intend to create.
Leadership as a Position
Leadership is not a position. Director, supervisor, and manager are a position, or even better yet, are a title.
Leadership is a philosophy and a practical way you live your life. Every aspect of your life in fact. If you think about leadership as a position, then?
You will create separateness between leadership and other aspects of your life. And, as we’ve just discussed, that leads to confusion and disengagement. You from yourself, and your team from you.
It is inevitable. People know when we are genuine and authentic. They can feel it, they can see it, and they can hear it. Simple.
One of the reasons people struggle in leadership is they are not clear on who they are as a human being. Listen, it’s not a demerit. I once had this same issue, and?
It’s hard. Very hard.
When you are not clear on who you are, how can you be clear on who your team is? You cannot. It’s just not possible. What is possible?
Get clear on you
- Why are you a leader?
- What do you value in leadership?
- What types of leadership do you associate yourself with?
- What kinds of impact do you want to make in this world?
- What change do you want to create?
I could go on. Well, and we will, in future posts. For now, know that there are two things at this stage that are critical.
- Understanding yourself.
- Understanding your leadership style.
And, we will cover both of these topics in the next two articles. Now, let’s take a look at leadership as characteristics.
Leadership as Characteristics
There are many places to look for and find lists, articles, even whole books on leadership characteristics. And?
Well, it is important to understand these characteristics, yet it is just as important to understand that these characteristics are a product of what leaders believe and think, and how they act.
Meaning, that understanding characteristics are only as good as actually developing a relationship with yourself, and understanding how that relationship will translate into your personal leadership style.
Here are a few leadership characteristics I think are pretty important.
Know there are many more. These are the ones I’m most present to now, and the ones that I’m always present to actually.
Leadership as Life
I prefer to think about and practice leadership as another part of my life. A very important part of my life. Really.
If we think about leadership in regard to taking care of and leading ourselves through life, and then expand that to include the other people in our lives, it’s very important.
Let’s close this first installment with a few quotes, shall we? Good. Here we go.
“As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.” – Lao TzuBenchmark
There we go.
Inspiration is an important part of leadership. And? Well, the leader must first find their inspiration, as we’ve discussed, and, then? It will go out to everyone else. Fun.
Ah, yes, collaboration is such an important leadership characteristic. Difficult, and yet so much fun and so worth the process.
I am fond of saying to the team I work on something like, you know we chose to institute the collaborative model we use today. It’s not the easiest way to do things, yet we believe it is the best way.
Lao Tzu makes a lovely point here about influence. When a team is rallied around a common purpose or goal, it is infectious, and it is as if the leader simply disappears. In fact, each person on the team, in their own way, becomes a leader. Beautiful.
Alright, we’ve made it to the conclusion of the first entry into this new series on leadership. And, I am excited about continuing it with you.
In the next installment, we will take a look at leadership from the perspective of the self. It is, as we’ve discussed, where everything starts.
And, it is exactly where we will start again next time.