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  • Writer's pictureShandy Welch

How to Encourage Leadership in Everyone

We are inherently drawn to and will continue to seek out pleasure and reward. Conversely, we pull away from pain or situations that don’t inherently serve us. The interesting thing is, leadership requires us to stand in uncomfortable spaces, have crucial conversations, it requires walking towards difficulty without any personal gain, at least not initially. Maybe that is what makes it so hard.

Leadership does not require a title, it requires intention.

Leadership is not a position we are given or the title on the wall, it is the decision you make each day to show up and conduct yourself in a way that inspires others, that encourages broad thinking, and has a purpose far outside of yourself.

I was talking to a colleague about coaching, and who on his team would benefit. Which “leaders” should be invested in. I was struck by how quickly we think of the title and then the person. I challenged the thought, ‘What if everyone, regardless of their role, really felt they were a leader? How would that change the dynamic of your team? What if we had this dialog with everyone on the team regardless of their position? Isn’t everyone on your team critical for the success of the business?’

For all you parents out there, I am speaking to you. Like it or not, EVERYTHING you do and say is being observed by your kids. How you talk to another person on the phone, what words you mumble under your breath when you are upset, how you celebrate your own accomplishments, and how you smile at another on the street.

You are setting the standard for behavior, mindset, and intention.

Many times each day we have the opportunity to subtly but powerfully teach and lead. You may not think anyone is watching but they are. You are strolling the aisle of a store and see a shirt that fell off the hanger, you stop and hang it back up and keep walking. What you just did was powerful, yes, people just saw that and they observed the selfless act. You chose to lead by example, to think of the other customers, the employees, to have the common decency to help and leave the store better than when you entered. The child that saw your act, what did they just learn? Yes, it was a small act with seemingly little reward but maybe not.

Imagine if we could instill this mindset into our employees? Each day they came to work seeking out an opportunity to “wow” a customer or colleague. Imagine if you could inspire such excitement and collective purpose that your team continually offered innovative ways to move the needle of success and positivity within your company? How would that feel?

Leadership is a mindset, not a title. It is that message we should send to everyone on our team. To inspire individuals to see and feel the benefit of collective and self-leadership which will transform your company.

I urge you to invest in this conversation, in the support, mentoring, and coaching of your team. It is this foundational work that will drive success, retention, and customer service.

My Challenge To You:

  • Simply ask your colleagues who they think are the leaders around them and why. Begin the conversation and open the discussion to allow each person to see themselves as a valuable contributor to your team.

  • If we naturally move towards pleasure and reward, what can you do to more fully recognize small acts of leadership, how might you openly reward moments of greatness to encourage more of the same?

  • Begin each meeting with acknowledgment of accomplishments

  • Integrate letters from customers who recognize acts of kindness into your gatherings

  • Challenge each other to find the small acts that typically get overlooked and highlight them (making a fresh pot of coffee for the team, restocking supplies, opening the door for a customer needing extra assistance) It is these acts that are signs of leadership, nobody seems to be watching but, you do it anyway because you care deeply about your customer, your integrity, and humanity.

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