After seeing Erik Klein’s presentation on leadership – What does leadership look like…for you?, I decided to ask some people to tell me their take on leadership. Here is my daughter’s view after seeing his presentation:
Leadership is often thought of as a position or a title, something that you have or you don’t. Many view leadership as something that you attain once you have reached a certain position; when you make partner or when you become part of the C-suite, only then are you finally a leader. Even as students, we only view ourselves as leaders when we are part of an elite group, perhaps an executive member of a club. We also have the idea that only select “leadership traits” exist. If you do not possess these characteristics, you can never be a leader. This narrow view of leadership can be detrimental.
Leadership can be practised wherever you are in your career, whether you are just starting out or you are close to achieving your goals. It is about tapping into your own skills and talents and using that to engage others, so that you can collectively achieve more than you think is possible. It is not just “doing your job” and doing what is expected; it is about going beyond what is expected and becoming exceptional.
Though having traits of a transformational leader can be advantageous, each of us has the potential to be our own type of leaders. You can do this by leveraging your own skills, talents, abilities—essentially, by being yourself. Do not be constrained by what you are authorized or told to do. Of course, it is crucial to do your job, but if you can achieve better, then why not do so? Step outside your comfort zone and motivate others to do the same. Lead by example. This is how you can collectively achieve more and enrich the environment in which you operate. This is true leadership.
Cara Cajucom is a 2013 Candidate for Bachelor of Arts, Honours Business Administration (HBA) at Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario (UWO). See her profile on Linkedin.
How about you? What does leadership look like… for you? Post your comments below.