“Leadership is action, not position.” – Donald H. McGannon
Recently I was having a conversation with a few people about leadership and the ‘surely’ question came up. There’s always more than one way to understand anything; that’s the fun of engaging with, listening and being open to the thoughts of others, and of course having the courage to share your own ideas within the variety of interactions that we all have each day. The way that I have come to understand leadership though, along with the way that I strive to embody it and purposefully foster it within our L.E.A.D. with Courage™ Program, is linked heavily to the quote I’ve used above. Leadership comes to life in the verb, not in the noun.
“Remember the difference between a boss and a leader; a boss says ‘Go!’ – a leader says ‘Let’s go!'” – EM Kelly
As I was explaining our understanding of leadership and how this understanding is weaved through our programs and ongoing communication with our clients, it was met with, ‘Surely not everyone can be a leader?’ It wasn’t delivered aggressively, or meant to devalue what was being said, rather it was coming from a place of genuine curiosity. Over time ‘we’ have believed that leadership is something outside of ourselves; a person who’s in charge, giving directions for others to follow. Maybe that person is a ‘good’ leader. Maybe that person is a ‘bad’ leader. Maybe that person deserves their title or position. Maybe that person doesn’t deserve their title or position. Maybe one day I might be that person. Maybe one day I might not be that person.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
I love this quote above. It’s one I revisit often. It acts as a rudder within my daily thoughts, words and actions. It doesn’t mean that every thought, word and action creates ripples like these ones, we are all too very human for that, but it reminds me of the purposeful way that we can choose to navigate our individual and shared journeys of potential. How would you describe leadership to someone else? How does your understanding of leadership influence your daily thoughts, words and actions? What is the most challenging aspects of choosing to lead? What opportunities are open to us as individuals and groups if we embrace, practice and celebrate leadership in the verb, instead of the noun?
“You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.” – Mother Teresa