There’s a dirty little secret I’m learning about leadership: you’re likely already a leader, whether you like it or not.
Whether you are leading to inspire, leading to drive action, or leading to drive people crazy, well, that’s the part you control.
Chick-fil-A’s annual leadership conference, Leadercast is hands down one of my favorite annual events. As I wasn’t able to attend this year, I found myself eagerly following along via Twitter. The Tweets alone shared a powerful message: Simply Lead. Simply Lead was the theme for this year’s event, and the funny thing is, each time I read the tagline, I found myself reading it as “Lead Simply,” a small tweak, but one that I couldn’t help but stop to think about a little further.
I tweeted my little conundrum and received this in reply from a colleague.
I think he hit the nail on the head and lead to even more thoughts rolling around in my head.
A recent conversation with another colleague of mine lead to a conversation around leadership, roles and the growth for the future. As we discussed paths, she shared with me sentiments that I’m not sure I’d ever really, truly accepted: you are leading right now. There will always be someone watching, a conversation somewhere taking place and an opportunity unfolding, it is how you define yourself in those small moments that build leadership skills. In a nutshell, if you want to hold the keys to becoming a leader in your organization: simply lead.
To simply lead is only part of the equation. If taking the reigns and helping to calm the chaos is the starting line, defining the route to the finish must be the next 26.2 miles. Leadership is, for a lack of a better word, leading me to two things: humility and patience. Humility is the action required to take a step back and serve those around us. If we expect to better ourselves, we must first tend to the needs of others. As for patience, success and triumph aren’t a matter of winning the lottery, they are the result of dedication, hard work and the flexibility to alter as we go. If we expect to lead simply, we cannot expect the journey to follow the straight line of a guidebook or some pre-determined path up the corporate ladder. Becoming a leader is a team effort in order for each of us to become successful. In other words, it’s going to take a village.
It’s quite funny how a day long leadership conference can be boiled down into two words and leave such a stunning impact. I think those guys are on to something.
*Disclaimer: While Chick-fil-A is a client of mine, all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. However, I am just as flattered and enamored by those chicken guys outside of the office each and every day.