by Emily Vogel, CAP, OM
Yep, I’m looking at YOU. For hundreds of years, the perception has been that a leader is someone who holds a position of power. It was defined by title, having direct reports, or the ability to control company policies. Here’s the updated news… leadership is NOT limited to those things. A leader is someone who can motivate others towards a common goal. That means that leaders aren’t limited to board rooms, c-suites, or to those who carry a gold-plated business card. It means that leaders are everywhere, doing everything. You’re leading from your desk, from your living room, and from behind the little-league dugout. You lead at church, at your volunteer site, and even from the grocery store. Yes, the grocery store. Eyes are constantly on you. You have more influence than you think you do. Those wide-eye stares of “if she can do it, I can do it” come not only from your colleagues, but also from your neighbors, the sticky-fingered toddler sitting at your kitchen counter, and the stranger standing behind you in the check-out line. Your entire day is an opportunity to lead.
Now that you’ve realized your significance, don’t you think you should take the time to develop that skill? Often, I’ll hear colleagues comment on their age, stage of career, or phase of life and quickly dismiss their need for development. Let’s stop this nonsense. Learning is a lifelong endeavor.
I attended my very first IAAP Conference in 2012. I remember getting off the plane and boarding the shuttle to the hotel. My seat mate, who was in her late 70s, was also an IAAP member and had been attending for over 40 years. Long since retired, she came simply to network and continue her education. This is an example of a woman who knows she is worth investing in. Her ability to influence, to lead, didn’t end when she stopped punching a time clock.
Leadership Academy is a testament to IAAP’s commitment to helping us be our very best. The takeaways are endless and the impact immediate.
During this educational journey, I learned that, when I’m communicating, the most important thing isn’t in the words I’m saying, but in what the other person hears. Tone of voice, body language, and even the format I use to communicate can alter the intended message. I learned that the best leaders have a high EQ and that involves mastering self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. I learned that, if I really want to grow as a leader (and as a person) I need to be vulnerable, honest about my shortcomings, and really take a hard look at the traits and behaviors that affect my personal brand.
You don’t need to be in a specific job, at a specific rank, or even participate in the workforce at all to absorb the value of this program. No one has all the answers so, whatever it is that you are good at, chances are you can be even better. A “You 2.0” if you will.
You are a leader.
You’re influencing others right now.
Now, don’t you think you’re worth investing in? I do.
You too can harness your natural leadership ability.
Foundations of Leadership, formerly known as Leadership Academy, is a 18-week exploration to discover your personal leadership identity. Through a combination of relevant content, 1:1 coaching, and mentor and peer connections, you’ll develop the leadership mindset to truly own your value. Learn more and apply today!