We often associate leadership with an impressive title. If we’re not a boss or in charge of something, we might not consider ourselves to be leaders. But leadership doesn’t require a title.
Leadership is an attitude–a way of BEING. Any person can express leadership in any moment.
Yes, of course we can lead in an official leadership role, like President or CEO; but we can make just as much of an impact from the middle or even the bottom of the pack. Who says you can’t be a leader as an associate or assistant!
By following these simple principles, we can be a leader in any area of our lives:
Follow Your Gut – This isn’t probably taught in most MBA programs, but it is a powerful tool in your leadership toolbox. Your gut, your wise inner voice, is incredibly useful if you pay attention and listen to it. The inner voice is often ignored if there is no hard evidence to back it up. But the inner voice is incredibly wise and is speaking up for a reason. Trust yourself and the inner voice to carry you down the road of success.
Own Your Successes and Failures – We need to look at both our successes and failures with a keen eye to recognize where we stand. Honoring the successes, no matter how small, gives us an opportunity to see our brilliance, as well as shows us how we can stretch even further next time. Owning our failures gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the risks we’ve taken, and what we can learn for our next adventure. The more objective we can be in this assessment of successes and failures, the easier it will be to further develop ourselves as leaders.
Ask for Support – While often leaders try to be the “Lone Ranger” by trying to get it done all on our own, we limit what can be accomplished with just one person. As a recovering “Lone Ranger,” I have found that true leaders look beyond themselves to focus on the larger goal and seek support to accomplish that goal. The more support we have, the larger the goal we can tackle. Remember to view your support team as leaders too, so they too can step up in big ways.
In any moment, you may be called to step up and lead. If you remember to trust your gut, own your successes and failures with a keen eye, and seek support with the larger goal in mind, you will have the tools to lead successfully in any situation.
– Sara Nowlin ’99