Tag Archives: defining leadership

What Does Leadership Mean To You?

24 Feb

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. -John Quincy Adams

I had lunch with a former colleague the other day and when I asked him about how things were going at work he launched into a story about how his manager – who is very concerned with perceptions – has been reprimanding him for his out-spokenness. Apparently, the manager did not perceive voicing a dissenting opinion during a meeting as good leadership. Now I thought this was a major crock of BS. Being strong enough to share an unfavorable outlook is, in my opinion, a great leadership trait. But what really bothered me was that my friend was being forced into someone else’s idea of what leadership truly means.

I believe leadership is one of those terms that is bandied about quite loosely. Everywhere you turn you hear about which leadership qualities we should be working on and which leaders we should admire. However, I believe that leadership and how one defines it is a completely personal thing and can totally vary from person to person. By attempting to squeeze into a narrow “leadership” box, we’re trying to live up to someone else’s expectations. And we all know how I feel about living up to other people’s expectations.

Here’s an exercise. Get a blank piece of paper and bullet out what being a leader means to you. Does it mean only working on projects you find interesting and noble? Does it mean being an inspiration to others by following your heart? Does it mean always being honest and out-spoken? Or maybe it means always taking risks and being bold. Remember you don’t have to have a fancy job title and a company car to be a leader. There are probably at least 3 people right now who already think of you as a leader. Identify what leadership means for you and then harness it. Strive to perform your specific leadership qualities everyday. By being in touch with your true leadership qualities, you’ll be much better off than those who are simply trying to fit into someone else’s idea of leadership.

Until Next Time,

Nailah

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