I was listening to a great episode of one of my favorite podcasts, the TED Radio Hour. “Disruptive Leadership” was the topic and its messages were very much aligned with my thinking, as described in “Be a Leader,” the third chapter of my book, Six Simple Rules for a Better Life.
When I talk about being a leader, I’m not talking about presidents, CEOs, and heroic figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. I’m talking about making the world a better place, even in “small” ways. It’s about the role you play in your family. It’s about getting involved in your community. It’s about setting an example and taking on responsibility. We all have it in us to be a leader.
In his TED Talk, Drew Dudley says we think we are not leaders, but every one of us is far more powerful than we realize. When we view leadership only in terms of thing much bigger than us, we give ourselves an excuse not to expect it every day from each other. Yet, each of us has made someone’s life better by something we said or something we did. Even that is leadership.
Seth Godin says leaders emerge naturally in our lives. When a group comes together around a common interest or goal, someone will step up to lead—whether it’s coaching our kids’ after school sports teams, fundraising for a local family in need, or a cleaning up the local nature center—someone says, “I’ll do it.”
There is also a fallacy that the person we view as most charismatic will be the leader. But, most of the types of leaders Godin refers to don’t come across as charismatic or inspiring when you first meet them. The point is this: It’s not that charisma results in leadership; it’s being a leader that makes you charismatic. That’s why we shouldn’t say to ourselves, “I don’t have it.” The fact is, we all do. And we don’t need permission to lead people. They are waiting.
What are some ways you’ve been a leader? What are some ways you can think of to be a leader? Please join the conversation with your comments…