From Chief Executive to minimum-wage-contract-cleaner I see leadership potential in everyone every day. It is never about job role or hierarchy, but always about how we are with the people around us and the small differences we feel empowered to make. Here are ten questions to help you encourage leadership in everyone and to hold yourself to account as well.
- Do you notice how your words and actions impact others?
- When you listen to other people do you care as much to listen well whoever it is that you are listening to?
- Do you keep all your small commitments because it was nevertheless a commitment that you made?
- Do you help colleagues achieve their goals when it is not a requirement to do so?
- Would you tidy a meeting room others left in a mess?
- Would you ask your boss how she/he is feeling?
- Do you create clear boundaries between work and home?
- If something concerns or upsets you, can you calmly talk about it in the moment so that others know how you feel?
- Do you know why other people value what you do?
- Have you asked your colleagues what you could change so that their contribution is easier to make?
The mythology of leadership has too often constipated companies, stifling creativity, thoughtfulness and kindness. However when an organisation decides that literally everyone is a leader, extraordinary things can happen. Process, efficiency and discipline are, of course, essential ingredients in any successful workplace, but it is the people who inspire. If we conflate people with process we lose far more than we ever gain.
We thrive on the difference we make, not the conformity we impose. We are all leaders, let us be leaders.