I first ventured into the world of leadership back in the early 90’s. I didn’t know it as ‘leadership’ then.
I landed a role which was a step up in my career and it soon became apparent that my principles, values and professional ethics were being compromised by what was happening and not happening in the department.
I did what I felt and thought was the right thing to do, despite much resistance and no support. It happened naturally and as a matter of course. It took 2 years of grit to become a high performing, award winning, exceeding expectations, over delivering… (and much more) department with a team of highly motivated and enthused staff who were stretching themselves and creating innovative services for the department.
About a year later, I was asked if I wanted to participate in a 1 year leadership development programme. I did and then everything fell into place…what was being taught was what I had been doing for the past 3 years.
Over the next decade, I studied and taught a range of leadership models, theories, concepts and went on to incorporate them into leadership development programmes.
As my work became more diverse (away from the organisational setting), I began to move away from the notion that leadership is to do with those who bear the title or are designated the role and that there is no one definitive model/ concept / theory of leadership, what it is and the qualities and actions that it requires.
I began to notice a connection with leadership AND everyday life and leadership IN everyday life and began to explore these in my blogs. Some of which are below:
- What foundations are you laying for the future?
- Culture: connecting home and the workplace
- What can you learn about leadership from your elders?
- What can you learn about leadership from parenting?
- How are you influencing those who matter to you the most?
My journey of leadership has brought me to place where I believe that:
Leadership is everywhere around us …it crosses boundaries at work, at home, at play and is embedded in our daily lives and makes us who we are. When you leave the office, you don’t leave your leadership behind. When you go on holiday, you don’t leave your leadership at home. It is a way of Being and Doing.
Leadership is for everyone and is not exclusive to those who have been given the title, run a company, lead a team…Good leadership exist within our homes, families, communities, workplaces…if we all became effective role models how different will our world be?
For me, leadership is finding everyday ways to make a difference. This happens in the context of our daily lives through our relationships with others and can be found in the workplace, at home, at play, in the community, church, school, clubs, world….
Making a difference is not age dependent. Take Martha Payne, the 9 year old who wrote a blog, neverseconds where she reviewed her school lunches and talked about healthy eating. She hoped to raise a few hundred pounds for her favourite charity, Mary’s Meals. Martha went on to raise over £115,000 for Mary s Meals and is impacting the lives of children in Malawi.
What you do or don’t do matters, as it impacts and influences those around you. I wonder:
- Is this is a conscious deliberate choice or a subconscious one?
- What triggers it?
- What makes some people choose and some don’t?
I would love to hear your thoughts and perspectives on the above and on the following questions:
- How would it be if leadership became more mainstream?
- What would it look like if leadership moved away from the work/organisational setting and be seen as something that everyone has and can be developed?
- Should leadership be introduced at an early age, for example in schools?
- Is our responsibility to be good role models limited to being a personal one?
- What are your thoughts on leadership being part of our everyday lives?
I work with women who are advancing their careers and businesses, women who have left employment to build profitable businesses AND develop teams and people within organisations through coaching, mentoring and leadership development programmes. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead and on LinkedIn