Research by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner branded as The Leadership Challenge® indicates that everyone can be a leader. It’s not about whether you were born or made a leader, but rather leadership is about ‘what you do with what you have’.
Let’s dig further into those words: ‘it’s what you do with what you have’. Whether you have an abundance or lack of resources, both can be used or applied. Let’s drill down into the word ‘resources’, as that often is interpreted as purchasable items. Could resources also be ‘˜ideas’, those little nudges I call life force that pop into your mind when you least expect them? What do you do with those – jump into action (make that call, read that book, speak to that person) to use those ideas or let them fade away and become forgotten? Could resources also be your personality or behavioral preferences. What do you do with those- use them to their fullest allowing them to bring results for your desired outcomes? Could resources also include the dreams that will offer more hope than the reality you currently face? What do you do with those – see them as something to wait for, or opportunities to step into?
Let’s take a practical example where success has come from taking the first step, any step into an unknown because you believe in a change, yet have no idea how to make it happen.
Rania desperately watched on as her company colleagues were handed redundancies in waves of 100’s. It was unacceptable to her to see the damage this caused, seeing people no longer wanting to get out of bed and falling into the depths of depression. While understanding that when a company met economic hardship there really was no other option, she also believed fervently that everyone deserved hope in their life. She intended to reconnect these people to hope even though she had absolutely no idea how to achieve that. So, she simply took a step, just one step, by picking up her phone and sending an SOS message out to anyone in her phone list. She asked everyone to consider what they may be able to offer that might give these people hope. She then put down the phone and walked away. Within minutes the messages started flowing in from consultants, coaches, and trainers, offering free-of-charge motivational talks, webinars, techniques. Rania then set up a timetable and infrastructure from which these people could serve.
Was Rania a leader – you bet! She’s an ordinary person who has made a difference to thousands of people, by taking one step into the unknown because it was just unacceptable any other way. It was the choice to take a step which made the difference.
Nothing in the leadership research cited above hints that leaders should be perfect. Leaders are not saints. They are human beings full of flaws and failings, and make mistakes too. Yet the key is their intention for greater hope and a better world, be that in a household, in the community, in the organization or in the country. They are real people like you and me doing something with whatever it is they have. Does that present any opportunity for you?
Debbie Nicol, MD of ‘business en motion’, a business consultancy and learning organization moves businesses and leaders ahead through change. Operating across the GCC for over 15 years, she achieves this through the services of training, coaching and solutions services, specializing in strategy, leadership and change.