Take The Lead - Be Yourself More With Skill!

For years now there have been views expressed that leaders are born and not made; that someone leads and someone follows - good old leadership/followership theory in action..! However from my perspective (and I have seen this demonstrated) this is less than true and, more importantly, damaging! This attitude can hold back the potential of people and create a certain tired and inflexible culture in a business.

Line managers who believe leaders are "born and not made" are not going to seek out people who are different to themselves; they will hire "mini-me's" instead of being inclusive leaders. They will not recognise the need for cultures to grow, develop and change. 

Interestingly, as quoted by Lidija Globokar in her Forbes article "The Two-Way Street of Leadership", millennials don't agree with the old rules of leadership and the strict rules of hierarchy. Also, according to Deloitte's Millennial Survey 2018, they are also ready to take action if they're unhappy with a management or leadership style; 43% of millennials envision leaving their jobs within two years if their employers do not change their behaviour.

Leadership is therefore a way of behaving differently in different contexts; depending on the person/people who are in front of you, setting ambitious goals, making clear what is expected of people and telling an inspiring story about a future that is just within reach! Most people are capable of displaying at least some of these leadership skills at the right time, at different moments. We sometimes need to ignore job titles and seniority, and allow anyone who can take the lead to do so.

I believe anyone can lead providing they are given support and stretching tasks from which they can learn, which also means allowing for mistakes. As a leader, ask yourself some of L.David Marquet's "Turn the Ship Around" questions:

1) Are your people trying to achieve excellence, or just trying to avoid making mistakes?

2) Do you spend more time critiquing errors than celebrating success?

Finally, Realise that there are as many ways to lead as there are leaders and situations; one size does not fit all;
Aspire to be yourself - be authentic and create your leadership legacy (more about this in a future blog!); and 
Do provide the environment for leaders to be made!

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