Did you know you are a leader?
A leader, plain and simple, is someone who leads or guides someone else. We can do that well; we can do that poorly; we can even default on leadership, meaning that we choose not to lead. Regardless the opportunity to lead is available to everyone. Connected to leadership are the concepts of power and authority. Often these words have negative associations, especially for women (check out my favorite article on women and power here). In reality, they are neutral concepts; how we use them in our leadership makes them negative or positive. Power just means the ability to influence people. Authority means being in a position to assert power. Leadership is how we use our power and authority to guide people. In my family, my spouse and I have the authority to exert power on our children.
We have power in two ways:
1. because of our position, namely as parents in good standing, the government recognizes us as being in charge of them since they are minors (my teenagers need to know this),
2. We have also earned our power and authority through our care of them.
Our children listen to us and follow us because of our positional power (we are officially their parents) and because of our relational power (we love them, and most days they love us). Our leadership is both given and earned.
The same thing happens in other places. Some of us in our jobs have positional power, teachers, financial advisers, board members, pastors, etc. The power and authority to lead come from having a position that places you in charge of someone else. Some of us have earned power, think of the beloved volunteer at your favorite organization, the matriarch of your church or family, your favorite trainer at the gym. These people may not have a position that places them in charge of people, but people follow them anyway because of their care for others; they are given power and authority. Some of us have both.
A leader has the power and authority to guide other people. All of us have people who we lead. You are probably a leader in some capacity in your family, within your circle of friends, in your job and your volunteer positions. And you are certainly a leader in your own life.
This is the space of leadership that I love; how are we better leaders in our homes, with our friends, in our jobs, in our volunteer positions and our life. Every Friday, I am going to cover a different aspect of leadership. These leadership lessons are not just for people who have positional power, they are for everyone, and they are applicable in all of the areas of your leadership.
Here are some questions for you to think about this week:
Where are you a leader?
How are you doing there, are you a good leader, a bad leader, are you defaulting on your leadership skills?
Imagine what type of impact you could make if you were a great leader, what would that look like?
Next week we will talk a little bit about different types of leaders!