Something that I hear a lot, especially from younger people is that they aren’t a leader yet because they don’t have the title or position that they assume goes with the responsibility of leadership.
I remember feeling this way myself. I can remember saying things like “when I get to lead, I will…”, “when I’m the boss, I will never…”
While some positions of authority will carry greater leadership responsibility, I think one of the most important things for young leaders to realize is that leadership occurs at all levels:
- Within yourself
- With your peers
- With those who report to you
- With those you report to
Leadership happens up, down, in, out, with and through, but the one direction leadership does not go is around. I think that is especially true of the leadership development process. If you don’t learn to lead yourself, you’ll never really learn to lead others successfully. If you don’t learn to lead your peers, it will be more difficult to learn the relational leadership skills that will still be essential in authoritative leadership positions. There is no quick route to leadership. Leadership is a process that is lifelong. There are no short-cuts, no going around the system.
Leadership happens at all levels. So whatever level you find yourself in, commit to growing and learning from it. I promise it will matter!
What is the most difficult level of leadership for you?