How Everyone Can Be A Leader Now.

What Happened To Our Great Leaders At Work?

With the avalanche of leadership development available and the massive investment from companies in leadership development programs one would think there would be many great leaders, managers and team leaders. However, in your career how many great leaders, have you seen and even had the privilege of working with. How many managers can you name who would make you slam your fist against your chest with respect? My guess is not many or not enough. From what I see, hear and am told it seems I am not alone in this assessment. The awesome manager is more a myth than a reality.   
   
What fuels many a "water cooler" conversation is a story of a bad manager. The stuff that drives people to look for another job is very often a bad manager. In Stephen Johnston's compelling book "What do you do for a living?" there is a poignant statement from an executive at Lion Nathan, "People don't leave companies. People leave people." Awareness on this is prevalent.    
   
We're in quite a predicament. Where do we learn to be great? Who's example do we get to model? Often as managers we're on our own to traverse the murky waters of leading the troops. Blah blah blah and on I could go about how stuffed the work place is.

Focussing on Accountability

Time to shift thinking my friends. Time to stop the talking about "them", and start talking about you. Its too easy to point the finger and too easy to make ourselves exempt from the situation. The absence of leaders is universal throughout our history. When we "expect" to be led the absence of leadership leaves us in disarray. Why should this even matter? This absence of leadership is an opportunity. The real challenge is "you". What the workplace needs is people to self-lead. There was a reason why Gandhi encouraged us with these words, "Be the change you want to see in the world."  What the point?

      
  1. Expecting to be led is giving up responsibility, taking responsibility is choosing to lead. Present that idea, improve that process, swallow that pride, acknowledge that person, connect with that customer, etc.
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  3. Everyone can lead albeit in their own way. The moment you think you have to lead based upon an expectation and or a rule you've missed the point.
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  5. Being the manager does not automatically make you a leader. Title does not = leader. Leadership I'm afraid is the realm of the artist, not the rule keeper. If rules enabled leadership everyone would be one. 

Everyone Can Be a Leader

I'll leave you with this concept that everyone can be leader by being a little bit awesome. Inspired from Neil Pasricha's cool TED.com talk: There are 3 A's to being awesome: Attitude, Awareness and Authenticity 
  1. Attitude: No matter what happens you can always choose your attitude, not always easy, but possible. Yes a little courage and bravery helps at times. Everyone respects the individual who consistently does the right thing against the odds.
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  3. Awareness: Developing awareness about yourself, the people around you and the environment you are in, with the view to improving your value and impact. Who better to drive your worth than yourself.
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  5. Authenticity: Going out there, being real and being the best you can be. Not comparing yourself to others is crucial. The punch in your work is the real "You". Be that - its a win win. The stuff people will remember you for will not be the project you managed or the report you wrote.
 You will never be as young as you are now, even if you’re 50. You=Awesome (Go+Act+Now). The workplace needs you.    

   
What are your thoughts on handling an absence of leadership and on leading self? I'd love to know what you think. Please leave a comment, write a trackback or send me an email - karl [at] worklikeanartist.com. Please share on your favorite social networks. Thank you.