“Contrary to popular opinion, leadership is not a reserved position for a particular group of people who were elected or appointed, ordained or enthroned. Leadership is self-made, self-retained, self-inculcated and then exposed through a faithful, sincere and exemplary life.” – Israelmore Avivor
Where does leadership begin? I came across this question during one of my internet “research” endeavors. What marks the beginning of your personal leadership era?
I don’t think leadership begins when you get the right position. I agree with Strategic Monk – leadership comes from within. Although he does say that “leadership was hidden deep inside him”, no one is born a leader. Leadership has to be consciously developed. You may be born with certain personality traits that predispose you to be successful in that role, the privileges that you are given in life will determine, if you are able to become one.
First of all, leadership potential needs to be recognized. Either by someone telling you that you have what it takes. Or by you noticing the right tendencies in yourself.
Second, you have to put in the work into discovering the leadership qualities within yourself and make the deliberate effort to cultivate them. Purposeful growth requires borderline manual labor. It requires understanding your own weaknesses and strengths. It requires not only learning from the outstanding leaders around you, but also learning and establishing yourself. This blog started from me questioning myself. What if I am not good enough? Where do I need to improve to become good enough? This blog is a journey, a quest, an exploration trip if you will.
Finally, the right opportunities have to present themselves to take you to the right places. One day you have to step out of the comfort zone of being a follower and take a risk. Take a risk by speaking your mind. Take a risk by being assertive. Take a risk by taking an initiative. Take a risk at being different. Take a risk at being a leader.
Unfortunately, in the real world to become a leader within an organization you have to have successfully demonstrated the desired qualities. To be able to demonstrate them, you have to have an opportunity to do so. But no one is willing to give you an opportunity until you defensively demonstrated that you possess the desired qualities. Is this the ultimate Corporate Catch22: how can you have one without the other?