‘If you are leading and no one is following you are just taking a walk’, that is the age old adage but it doesn’t mean only leading when you have staff or a following. Whether you are are considered a leader in your organisation/community or not, you can lead and you should be a leader.
So you are not a people manager, who really cares about that? people management is such a one dimensional view of what a leader is. Don’t wait for that role or responsibility to show the world what you can give. So what can you lead then? You can lead yourself toward a healthy lifestyle, You can lead a specialist area you have a passion or knowledge in. You can lead your family to better choices. Leadership is about doing the right thing.
You can also lead by not doing things: by not engaging in gossip, by not talking negatively, by not wasting your time reading toxic news sites. Every time you choose to do something, anything you are choosing to not do a thousand other things. ‘You maybe one person to the world, but to one person you might be the world.‘ Your choices define who you are in the eyes of the ones you love, make them proud.
Leading is not all introspective good feeling either. You leading will bring you to moments to confront awkward, pernicious or frightening behaviours of others and yourself. Leading in all those other good times mentioned in the first paragraph are important but leading when things get tough is when you show that ‘a leader’ is a title awarded to many but earned by few.
It is easy to lead when you are supported by the collective will of others, it is something different when you’re leading in moments that are difficult. ‘Smooth sailing doesn’t make the best skippers’ and you leading only when times are good will not teach you what you must. Have courage and continue onward despite the mumblings and grumblings of others. ‘As a leader you must be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.’