I conducted a workshop on Leadership Development this week with my colleague Michael Couch at the Bayer Center here in Pittsburgh.
At the opening of the session I asked the participants how many of them considered themselves leaders. About 30% of the participants immediately raised their hands with another 25% tentatively raising their hands and the remaining 45% keeping their hands down. This is a pretty typical response I get when I ask that question. However, 100% of the participants were or had been leaders sometime in their career. Even the woman who was a volunteer at the Bayer Center had been head of an HR department earlier in her career. And the person who was head of a very important human service organization was one of those folks who was unsure if she should acknowledge her leadership stature.
The funny thing is that I understand all three groups. I often times don’t see myself as a leader and might prefer to be in a support role to the person who is out in front. But I also know, for example, that Tuesday morning from 9-12 I had to be a leader so that I was making sure this workshop had direction and ideas that would provide value to the participants. But given that question, I would always raise my hand because I know that I take on leadership roles more often than not.
Being able to name the leadership role whether its as a manager, boss, parent or community volunteer is important. If you are heading up a committee at your church or synagogue, you are providing leadership.
Claiming the role is the next important feature and is probably the toughest. “Yes I am the leader” is challenging to say considering all the responsibilities that accompany it but raising your hand is amazingly powerful.
Now that you have it, what are you going to do with it. Aiming your leadership in a manner that is responsible and effective is the third part of the equation and is where the rubber meets the road.
For most of us we assume leadership responsibilities every day. As long as you are going to have the job make sure you can name and then, please, raise your hand!