Today, Everyone Can Be a Leader
My Dad was a Retail Director at Sainsbury’s. He started at 15 selling rabbits outside a Sainsbury’s store for 1d (Someone much older may need to check that price!). He rose through the ranks for 40 years until he retired. ‘An Eastend boy done good’, as my Mum says. He was the type of leader that was typical in the 90’s. Feared, respected, and what he said went. Leaders and the word leadership has changed a lot in the last 30 years.
We have moved away from the feared leader to us talking about people being leaders whatever level they are. But how do we comprehend the feared leader that we knew as an example of a leader, and then us? Does it mean that we do that?
Being a leader has become about one of the key pieces of leadership – setting an example. This means that anyone can lead. Not necessarily lead people in the sense of ‘follow me towards this vision’. More, it is about follow my example. Follow what I do. I’m setting an example within what I do. Here are some examples of setting an example at any level:
- Colleagues are gathered around the tea point. The chat has turned to gossiping about how badly the project is going and how Mark is not fit to lead the project.
- An option: Join the gossip.
- The Leadership option: ‘I believe that Mark is trying his best. Maybe he needs our support. I’ll ask him how we can help.’
- The company has begun an initiative to reduce emails because they are out of control. The employees have had a briefing and the initiative has started by asking for examples.
- An option: Too busy. Let someone else put something forward because it will never work. Congratulate yourself when you were right – it failed.
- The leadership option: Suggest 3 examples of things you have tried that have worked, and ask to be someone that can help the initiative to succeed.
- You are exchanging emails with a colleague. Both people are getting frustrated because it seems clear – from their side.
- An option: Continuing emailing.
- The leadership option: You call them.
Leaders in the modern world are yes, those we look up to like Sir Richard Branson, Nelson Mandela, and alike. There are also the leaders that want to make their world better for themselves and others. They choose the road less travelled, the tougher route. They choose to be seen as someone of integrity, aiming to always do the right thing, and not afraid to try something new because public opinion does not agree. These are our modern leaders. They achieve leadership with lots of small behaviours.
Written by Darren A. Smith for The Grocer.
Action: For even more useful content on leadership, check out our ultimate guide on Leadership Skills.