by Jacqueline M. Baker, founder, podcast host, and author of “The Unexpected Leader: Discovering the Leader Within You“
Leadership can often be this seemingly elusive concept that appears to be unreachable and unrelatable. Depending on your life experiences, you may not have had the opportunity to ever see yourself as a leader or to be reassured that you had leadership qualities.
Leaders – especially young leaders have a unique opportunity to eradicate this thinking and start early in seeing themselves as leaders despite their role, position, status or title. This mindset and approach is incredibly important since there is no guarantee that throughout someone’s life they will have access to the support and resources that will enable them to declare that they are a leader and will grow on their journey
By committing to your own individual leadership journey early and consistently, you set yourself up for continual growth and you’re more aware of staying alert for growth and development opportunities personally and professionally.
Here are a few ways to ensure that you take full advantage of your daily leadership opportunities:
Embracing Your Everyday Opportunities To Lead
We often quickly forget what we have experienced and accomplished. We especially forget this when we are transitioning from personal to professional spaces. Consider the activities that you engage in on a day to day basis that actually have very little to do with your job or professional career choice.
- Planning your annual friends trip
- Delegating out tasks in your household
- Engaging in difficult conversations with friends
- Engaging in the act of listening more, instead of continuously talking
Your leadership growth and opportunities don’t just permeate inside of your workplace. Take the time to remember that you are engaging in leadership activities and refining skills everyday. Give yourself permission to use them both personally and professionally.
The Uniqueness Of You
Have you checked the stats lately? There are about 7.7 billion people in the world. While this number is quite heavy and slightly overwhelming, the other amazing thing about this number is how you fit into it. Even with the billions of people who exist in the world, there is still uniquely only one you.
On your path of becoming a stronger and more impactful leader, resist the urge to attempt to be exactly like another leader or completely copy another leader all together. Because you aren’t like anyone else, copying them exactly will never feel 100% authentic, because it can’t.
While there may be qualities of someone else that you may admire, observe and even adopt, attempting to do something exactly like someone else may leave you frustrated, overwhelmed and unsuccessful.
You can discover more things about yourself and learn to embrace them by taking personality assessments and analysis. These allow you to discover more about you and even make decisions on where you’d like to adjust, grow or redirect altogether. Remember that you are the most qualified and appropriate person to maximize your qualities by uniquely being you.
The Pitfalls Of Embracing Leadership
While I am committed to sharing the numerous tools and approaches to see yourself as a leader at any level, it is also in your best interest to understand some of the key pitfalls that may surface once you have embraced your role as a leader.
Here are a few of the most common pitfalls to be aware of on your leadership journey:
1. Believing that there will not be discomfort – On your journey of seeing yourself as and elevating as a leader, it will be necessary to embrace new things and new approaches. It will also be necessary to remind yourself that you can do both hard and uncomfortable things.
2. Diminishing your work – Have you ever been complimented or recognized for your work and you simply brushed it off? Perhaps someone said, “great job” and you responded with something like, “oh, that was nothing” or “this only took me a few minutes”? By self-diminishing your work, you dangerously give other people permission to diminish your work as well. Remember that, “thank you”, is a complete sentence and that by minimizing your own work and efforts, you give other people permission to do so as well.
3. Succumbing to self doubt and imposter syndrome – It’s not uncommon or unrealistic to encounter a bout or several bouts of self doubt. As you’re growing and giving yourself permission to be a stronger leader, you may periodically (or frequently) experience some doubt, some fear and even some questioning of yourself. It is always recommended that you realign, embrace some re-framing techniques and give yourself the right to be human, because you are. And, sometimes us humans may experience the effects of self doubt. This does not mean that we are incapable of being effective and impactful leaders.
Leadership is a key tool that we have the opportunity to utilize. On our journey of growing, elevating and moving in the direction of our goals and dreams, it’s essential that we declare and own our leadership opportunities every step of the way. From being a self leader to advancing to leading others, leading communities and maybe even leading movements, you have a unique opportunity to accomplish amazing things simply by getting started and seeing yourself as an everyday leader.
Jacqueline M. Baker is a speaker, author, leadership consultant and advisor known for her unique approach to modern etiquette and leadership. She is author of “The Unexpected Leader: Discovering the Leader Within You” and “Leader by Mistake: Becoming A Leader One Mistake At A Time”, and also the host of the podcast, Just Start™: From Ideas To Action.