What does it mean to be a leader?
In their book The Art of the Possibility, Rosamund and Benjamin Zander describe a concept that he calls “leading from any chair”. Benjamin Zander is a conductor, and The Art of Possibility is a book of leadership principles for living life and for working in an organization. A conductor, like a CEO, is the clear “leader” of the orchestra. But Zander advances the notion that the most successful orchestra empowers all the players to be leaders. And that to be a successful part of an orchestra, the players will see themselves as leaders. “A leader does not need a podium; she can be sitting quietly on the edge of any chair, listening passionately and with commitment, fully prepared to take up the baton.”
This is a notion that might seem unusual. You are a leader. No matter what you do in your life, you are a leader. Certainly you are the leader of your own life. You may not choose to take the lead, but you still are a leader. In coaching, we believe that the only way to make change is to take ownership. That to make change in something you do not like, or to achieve something you want is to ask, what is my part in this? What can I do here? Whether you are alone or on a team, the most important question is where can I take the lead? And so, you need not wait for a leadership title to be bestowed upon you. You can take the lead in your life. What would that mean?
What would it mean to take the lead on a team? Particularly when you feel things are not working? If leading is not just a title; if leading is not even necessarily about what you DO, who would you need to BE in order to stand as leader?
So what does it take to lead? You need only decide. Decide you are ready; the time is now. Decide you are tired of complacency or of blaming the people who you think have had the lead in your life to this point. Then you might ask yourself a few questions:
What do I really want?
What would I do now if I was a leader in my life? In my organization? On this team?
Where am I holding back?
Where can I step forward?
Leaders lift themselves and they lift others. Where will you lead today?
And if you want an impactful way to find the leader in yourself, or are ready to learn to lead in a different and more effective way, join my friend, colleague and coach, Kelly Mobeck in her LIFt program – 2 days of leadership skills and 10 weeks of group coaching on implementing those skills and principles in order to get the things you say you want, change the things that are not working and truly take the lead!
Her program is called LIFt (Leadership Impact Forum training). Kelly is the first person (before Benjamin Zander!) who taught me that anyone can be a leader at any time.
Lift yourself to where you want to be, to where you deserve to be, to where you always knew you could be. Lift others. Take the lead and lift yourself because you are the only one who will!
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” -Jim Rohn