If you were to pull up the Amazon app on your phone and do a search for leadership books, you would be overwhelmed. There are 190,498 books on leadership to choose from. In 2015, it was estimated that nearly four leadership books were being published every day. With so many options and authors to choose and learn from, why is it that a constant topic on LinkedIn revolves around the lack of leaders? Sure, we have people in leadership roles, but having a title doesn’t make you a leader.
Often times, people in non-leadership title positions don’t see themselves as leaders. They only see the responsibilities of the roles they are in. People don’t understand the potential they have in making a difference in the lives of others every single day. They get bogged down in their day to day responsibilities and the tendency is to only look after oneself. Not enough companies take the time to invest in an us-development mentality over the self-development of individuals. This lack of an us-development mindset hinders the perception that anyone and everyone in a company is a leader.
Kurt Uhlir, CEO and Co-founder of Sideqik, said this about leadership for Business News Daily, “Too many people view management as leadership. It’s not. Leadership comes from influence, and influence can come from anyone at any level and in any role. Being open and authentic, helping to lift others up and working toward a common mission, build influence. True leadership comes when those around you are influenced by your life in a positive way.” These are extremely powerful words and directly express the idea that anyone, in any position, for any company, can be a leader.
Everything you do matters. It doesn’t matter if it’s cleaning toilets, flipping burgers or running a multimillion dollar company, everything you do matters. In some way, shape or form, you are making a difference for someone else whether you realize it or not. That is a huge responsibility and it’s ours whether we want it or not. In other words, we have to take ownership over it. In everything we do, we have the ability to either build someone up, or tear them down. It should be the goal of every company to create a culture of people who take ownership over themselves and the effect they have on those around them.
When this sense of ownership is created, you will have others willing to go above and beyond for those around them. There won’t be any more, “that’s not my job duty”, or “that’s not my department so why should I care” mentalities. It will be one unit striving to be the shoulders on which others can stand. You will have others who are willing to break down silos that were once created to help others achieve their goal. This will allow a company, and those in it, to truly and effectively strive towards the overarching goal created by the company. Just as a group of geese traveling in the flying V, alone they wouldn’t be able to make the trip south, however together they are able to travel up to 3,000 miles. Throughout the journey, they are honking encouragement to one another while trading off the responsibilities of leadership to accomplish their goal.
This is what leadership is all about. It is about realizing the responsibility you have to the people around you to support them and make them better in every way you can. It’s about understanding that every situation is an opportunity to build value in someone else’s life so that they might see the potential to achieve more than they could ever imagine and in turn, build value into someone else. So, it doesn’t matter whether you hold a title in leadership or not because every day, in every way, you have the opportunity to lead.
“Engage the Heart and You’ll find Purpose in Even the Most Mundane of Things!” -Jonathan Darling