Leadership Is a Practice, Not a Role

For over 35 years I’ve had the opportunity to be in leadership roles, and that’s not even counting the years I served as the eldest of 5 siblings. Now there’s where I really began to understand what it means to be out front. Let me share with you, its not all fun and games! However, I took on my leadership roles with vigor and responsibility. People could count on me. Through my ‘leadership role’ experiences, I came to understand what leadership really is-a daily practice.

We practice many things on a daily basis, which turn into habits and routines – some serving us and some not! Many of those habits and routines are directed toward the tangibles in our lives; taking care of our bodies, our homes, our families, our work. However, our behavior and the way we show up in the world is largely driven by the intangibles; the way we think, the meaning we make of things, what we believe and what’s important or of value to us. It’s in the intangibles that I have found my leadership power and the ability to influence others. There is one practice in particular that has empowered me to grow and develop as a leader, whether it is in my profession, business or life.

Leadership Practice #1 – Own what is yours to own!

What is my contribution to the situation I’m in? Sometimes it is so painful to turn the spotlight on self. To demonstrate this practice, let me share a stressful situation I found myself in.

Recently I bought a car. Prior to purchasing the car, I’d been in a two-week tornado of work catching up from being on a half months vacation. Going to car dealers and dealing with the ‘sales pitches’ was not on my top ten list of things to do. However, my car had broken down twice on vacation and I travel a lot for work so it had to be done. I was in the stress pot of work; impatient, and generally just wanted to get the whole ordeal over with. I made a hasty choice!

I bought the car and the next day had to drive 150 miles for work. I quickly realized the seats were not right for me, in fact they really irritated my sciatica. Aghhh, so here I was with a car that was not going to work for me. I started down the road of what was the dealership going to do for me. I was the victim and the car dealers were the ‘mean guys.’

After a week of wasting time trying to get the dealer to do something, I woke up. No one twisted my arm to buy this car. In fact, our sales guy was great. No pressure, just service. I made the choice to look for a car when I was stressed and very tired. I made the hasty choice to purchase the car. Now, knowing I had a problem with the seats, what could I do? Solution came much quicker once I took ownership. The possible solutions: re-foam the seats, or purchase a specialized car seat cushion. I went with the latter. (A lot cheaper!)

I have found that when you take ownership and practice it on a daily basis, you get to solution and the positive side of life much more quickly. Can you imagine how our world would change if our leaders, government, and humanity at large engaged with this #1 Leadership Practice?

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