When I first heard someone say this, I said, “Huh! You got be joking. How can it be everyone’s business! Are you saying that I can be a Leader like Gandhi or Mandela?”
In Aug 2006, I was at the Toastmaster’s Annual Convention in Washington D.C.. The Golden Gavel recipient that year was Jim Kouzes – co-author (with Barry Posner) of the The Leadership Challenge and a number of other books on Leadership. Their over 30 years of evidence based research on Leadership proved – yes! Leadership is everyone’s business. Then, little did I know that I’d come to know the authors so well.
Here’s an extract from their research…Read on
We’ve been gathering stories about personal best leadership experiences for over thirty years. The people we’ve talked to come from every type of organization, public and private, government and NGO, hightech and low-tech, small and large, schools and professional services. They are young and old, male and female, and from every ethnic group. They represent every imaginable vocation and avocation. They reside in every country we’ve ever studied. We find leaders everywhere we look.
Chances are you haven’t heard of most of them. They’re not famous people or mega-stars. They’re people who might live next door or work in the next cubicle over. They’re people just like you. We focus on leaders like you because the most important leaders are not those at the very top. They are the leaders who are closest to us. The ones we encounter every day at work, at home, at school, and in the community. These folks have far more influence over us than those who occupy the top floor of the office high-rise.
After examining the immense variety of stories from so many different people and places, it has become crystal clear that leadership is not a gene. It’s not a birthright. It’s not about position or title. It’s not about power or authority. It’s not about celebrity or wealth. It’s not about being a CEO, president, general, or prime minister. It’s not about being a super star. And it’s most assuredly not about some charismatic gift. Demographics play no role in whether or not someone is going to become an exemplary leader. Leadership is not about who you are or where you come from. It’s about what you do.
For far too long we’ve allowed a number of myths to dominate our thinking about leadership and leadership development. One of those myths is the folklore that associates leadership with superior position. It assumes that leadership starts with a capital “L,” and that when you’re on top you’re automatically a leader. It’s part of a larger hero myth that inhibits us from seizing the initiative. “It’s not my job,” we say, and we wait for someone to ride in and save us.
Well, forget it! It’s just pure myth that only a lucky few can ever understand the mystery of leadership. Leadership is not a place, and it’s not a secret code that can’t be deciphered by ordinary people. Leadership is a set of skills and abilities that are learnable by anyone, provided they have the desire and the dedication.
There’s a fundamental truth about leadership that we must embrace before we can fully develop ourselves or facilitate the development of others as leaders. That truth is this: leadership is everyone’s business.
We must broaden our concept of leadership to include those on the front lines as well as those in the executive suites. The secret of high-performing organizations is that everyone within them knows that leadership-at-all-levels is expected and rewarded, and that individuals everywhere are responsible for making extraordinary things happen. That is why we have designed The Leadership Challenge® Workshop to be accessible to as many experienced and emerging leaders as possible.
Would you like to Liberate the Leader in you! Join us at the Leadership Challenge 2 -day workshop – assess your current Leadership capability, learn how to become an effective leader, get coached on exemplary leadership. There are limited seats and only 3 more days to go for the Early bird discount to expire! Hurry – your Leadership future beckons you! As Mouza Al Houqani – one of our participants told us – Don’t let someone else hold the ticket to your future! Happy Leading – next week – we’ll share with you why Leadership is an aspiration and a choice!