Now more then ever the world needs leaders!
But have you ever asked your self what a leader actually is, or what they actually do?
It's easy to spot them in a crowd, but it's much harder to pinpoint what ingredient actually makes them a leader.
One of the definitions that I love of what it takes to be a leader is as follows:
The person in any group who understands the needs of the other members of the group is seen as the group's natural leader.
I love this definition because it reminds us that leadership is about focusing on people - it's not about being a rock star, or having more abilities, or making sure things are done your way.
So how do you recognize and understand the needs of the group?
There are 5 things that you need to be committed to!
Commitment #1 - Take the high road.
It can be so easy to get pulled down to a spiral of negative emotions or to get caught up in the details of he said/she said of a group. And of course, we have our own personal stories and emotions to deal with on top of that. Sometimes we want to give in and join the gossip, the fear or the anger. Instead see that you are there to serve, that there is a job to be done, and a positive direction that would be best for everyone. Take the high road!
Commitment #2 - Protect and include.
In any group, there are always people that are left on the outside, that somehow don't quite fit the mold, and can be brushed aside by those with strong personalities. As a leader we never only protect and include those that are like us - we see the value in every individual human being and protect their rights and their well being! Especially those that are vulnerable! We look out for the underdog and make sure no one gets mistreated!
Commitment #3 - Find the higher purpose.
It can be easy to get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of the fact that each group has a purpose, whether it's family or co-workers or a group of friends. By calling people to a higher purpose, (in a family group it might be to support each other, in a work setting it might be to produce a product that helps make the lives of those that purchase it easier, for a friend group it might be to challenge each other to grow, etc.) we create an environment where we look to make a positive impact on humanity and on our culture. We put out the call to think of more than just ourselves but to see how we are all connected and how our actions affect each other!
Commitment #4 - Honor the individual spirit.
It can be so easy to dismiss those that are different than us. To label them and then see them as less than. I know as I write these words I like to convince myself that I would never do that - but the truth is we all do. We see someone with a different opinion or perspective than ours and we minimize their concerns and their needs. Or worse yet we gossip or ostracize them. Showing up as a leader means you value the individual. You see each person as a friend that deserves to be understood and honored - to see their potential and their heart!
Commitment #5 - Build bridges.
In a group, there are always going to be people that see things so differently that it causes friction and conflict. As a leader, we build bridges for these people so that they see more than just what causes them to be different. We build bridges that allow people to see how we can learn and grow from each other, and that allows people to see that in spite of our differences there is a humanity that connects us!
Showing up like this in the world is not always easy - it can be difficult and it causes us to have to dig down into ourselves and do the inner work that is required!
But we have to ask ourselves, how do we want to live this one magnificent life we have been given? What impact do we want to make with our words and our actions?
I know I don't want to live in the status quo where I can get dragged down into the everyday grind - I want to show up and make a difference. I want to be part of making this world a more beautiful place for others to live in!
For those of you who want to do the same - I can't wait to meet you 'out there'!