“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” Sheryl Sandberg
“What makes a good leader?” One day, I started thinking about leaders that had crossed my path and one thing stood out to me: even to this day, they were still making a difference in my life. I thought back on times that I worked with them, only to realize at those exact moments I may not have fully understood the impact they would have on my life. But now, years later, I am still benefiting from their leadership.
We can all be leaders
We often associate leadership with a title or role. But I have discovered that, regardless of title, we can all be leaders. We all have the opportunity each and every day to make an impact in someone’s life. It could be smiling at someone or asking them how their day is going and then really listening. Maybe we help a co-worker out with a project or provide them with some guidance or feedback that really helped them get over the finish line. You might have found yourself taking the initiative in a meeting or speaking up against a wrong that you noticed. Perhaps you recognized someone for a contribution they made.
These are just a few examples but they all have one thing in common: making people feel appreciated and seen.
Leaders that had a huge impact on my life motivated and engaged me. It wasn’t about just getting something accomplished. It was about how I could make it better next time or discover something about myself that I did not know I even possessed. They saw something in me and helped me become a better person.
As I get older and wiser, I am discovering that leadership is about mindset. When we adopt a growth mindset, we are able to think strategically and plan for the future. We don’t limit ourselves to what is right in front of us, we think in terms of possibility and are optimistic. A leadership mindset isn’t just about completing a task, it’s about considering how you can take the process forward and make it better for the next person.
Real leaders also realize that treating people with respect and dignity is of the utmost importance. When you feel appreciated and respected, you feel empowered, heard, and seen. Think about someone you can recognize and let them know how much you appreciate them.
The next time you think about leadership, think about who you can motivate and empower today, and be the leader you were meant to be!