Everyone can be a leader for sure. But that is like saying anyone can quit smoking or everyone can go the gym and be super fit. The only thing that obstructs is intent.
Our education system doesn’t help either. We were never taught in school what exactly it meant to be a leader. Inevitably, it’s the outstanding performers in studies or sports who would be pegged as leaders. Leadership hence became associated only with better individual performance. That’s invariably true in corporates too – you perform better than others as an individual, and you are scaled up to a leadership position. I suspect that is probably how my leadership journey started too.
By watching some amazing mentors in this journey, I realized how important it is to demonstrate the “Five Exemplary Practices of Leadership” in my daily actions. Whether we like it or not, as leaders, team members are always looking to us for direction, inspiration, vision and appreciation – a leader’s credibility is on the line at all times.
It is still early in my leadership journey, but as I introspect – here is what I would want to teach someone just embarking on this journey:
Yes, leadership is a challenge – but it is one that each one of us should endeavor to take. Everyone can get super fit if they show the intent. Similarly, all of us can be leaders if we show the intent.