Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with a community leader. She had just concluded her term as a the president in a well-known community group. In our conversation she was mentioning how nice it was to be present at the meetings as a member and how great it was to see “good” leadership in the new president. I was a bit taken-aback by her comment. Well of course you were a great leader in your own way, I mentioned. She objected. I reminded her what leadership is: “an influence-based relationship that is active, reciprocal, and non-coercive.” As long as you’re acting in accordance with these principles you’re leading.
Step out of the dark-ages
What we need to mentally and emotionally overcome is this assumption or belief that leading is formulaic. For too long, we’ve existed in circumstances where the heavy-hand and the task-objective was rewarded rather than behavior. As such, many have worked to emulate this behavior as opposed to stepping back to understand how their actions impact others. We make an assumption that leaders look or behave in a certain manner: taking charge, directing, production over people.
Many of us confuse leadership with management. Management or managing is the process of accomplishing tasks, leadership is getting things done through people. How you do it doesn’t matter as long as you’re living up to the core fundamentals of leading through influence, being active, reciprocal, and non-coercive. Other than that, there really is no formula…just be you!
This idea of being you, bringing your whole self into any situation is the hallmark of the Archetype Learning Solutions hash-tag #everybodyleads. Be it at work, in the community, on the sports field leadership is the same. To be authentic, to influence through your actions, to take an keen interest in everyone, to get feedback and input from others through your reciprocity is what leading is all about. Don’t confuse great leadership with great management. While both are important, leadership remains about your relationship with others.