Everyone is a leader either by choice or default.
We are all leaders
The leadership journey is a special kind of journey. It is interwoven with our life journey. Leaders are in every avenue of life and have many names: captain, coach, counselor, director, doctor, friend, grandparent, group lead, manager, parent, pastor, president, role model, sergeant, spouse, student, supervisor, teacher, volunteer, and on and on.
We are all leaders in some role or capacity. As Bruce Schneider, Master Certified Coach, author, and founder of iPEC Coaching wrote in our opening quote(emphasis in the original), “Everyone is a leader either by choice or default. If you don’t think of yourself as a leader, then you’re limited in your thinking. Leading is the way we help move people into action, including ourselves. The question is not whether you are a leader, but how well you lead.”
Our leadership journey and leadership development are integrated into who we are. It is both personal and professional. You cannot have integrity at work and then suddenly not have it at home. You cannot be nurturing at home and then put on a hat of neglect at work—at least not without negative consequences.
The leadership journey is analogous to what Abraham Maslow defined as self-actualization; what Leo Buscaglia described as becoming; Wayne Dyer calls the fully-functioning person and your higher self; and, what Robert Holden refers to as authentic success or the Unconditioned Self.
It is no coincidence that common themes recur from different traditions, perspectives, and people. Wisdom traditions have reiterated common themes throughout the ages. So whatever name you give it, leadership is about the whole person—not just your work or role or title. Your body, thoughts, emotions, spirit, and relationships working in harmonious synergy help bring you closer to your highest self and affect how you “help move people into action,” including yourself.
Each of our journeys are animated and empowered by our own unique gifts, environments, and by those who we meet and accompany us along the way.
Growth or Learning Mindset
The leadership journey is a never-ending journey. While there may be many milestones along the path, the best leaders are on a continuous road of self-improvement and growth. Therefore, the best leaders have a commitment to becoming—formally, informally, and through analysis of experience.
So, as you nurture your whole self, do so with the mindset that what you are experiencing and learning and becoming will impact your leadership. That way, you get to determine how.
Alan Mikolaj is a a professional, experienced, positive, and passionate speaker, leadership and organizational development consultant, change agent, author, and coach. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified graduate coach from Coaching Out of the Box and holds his ACC and membership with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
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In his third book, A Travel Guide to Leadership, Alan offers you simple, fundamental, and powerful lessons that have the power to transform you, your relationships, and your career.