Sunday, October 12, 2008

Taking the plunge into leadership

There are a number of ways we can end up in leadership. Sometimes we volunteer for a position which requires some leadership skills. Other times someone might identify us as someone with the ability to be a leader and an invitation comes our way. Or maybe we see the chance to go from being a follower to a leader and that excites and motivates us. So we apply for a job that will mean stepping into a leadership role.

Going from follower to leader may feel like you are taking a plunge into unknown waters. Scary! Remember you have already walked in the shoes of the follower. From that vantage point you watched other leaders take a group of people or an organization toward a destination. At times you probably didn't agree with all you observed in your leader. You may have thought of other ways to accomplish the goal. Maybe you even pictured yourself in the leader's role and thought about how you would lead in a specific situation.

Some of our first "leaders" in life, other than our parents, are teachers. Did you have a teacher or two who had a positive influence on you? Chances are if you did, they were people who held themselves to a high standard of accountability in their profession and also showed an interest in you as a person. Maybe they gave you compassion and encouragement when you needed it. Did they go the extra mile in helping you when you struggled academically with schoolwork? You knew you were not just a grade in their gradebook. You knew they cared about you.

This is one of the most fundamental concepts of leadership. Serving people by showing them you care, listening to them and wanting them to be the best they can be, will provide a good segue as you go from follower to leader.

Whether your opportunity to lead is now or down the road, don't hesitate to dive in. And as you do, think of yourself as a servant, a listener, and a developer of the people you are privileged to lead.

Photo: Steve Johnson/123rf.com

No comments: