The Leadership Conversation – By Susan Leahy

So I gave a speech to 300 people near Disney Land in California at the IAAP-EFAM Convention. The speech was a 2-hour interactive Leadership Boot camp. I got people, moving, talking and thinking about LEADERSHIP.  What is leadership? What does this idea of being a leader really mean? I guess in this blog I want to continue the conversation that I started with that group of 300 people.  The topic of Leadership is relevant to the readers of this blog because leadership takes consciousness. Leadership isn’t something that happens by accident.  Leadership is a learned skill that needs to be consciously exercised.  In this blog I am going to share with you a few thought that I shared with this group and then I would love to get your thoughts about this topic.

First I want to remind us that Leadership is not a title.  Too many of us yield to people because of their title.  This is a huge mistake.

Second great leaders are also great followers.  You do not need to be a leader in every situation.  Great leaders are exercising their leadership when they encourage others to lead when it is essential that they do not.

During my speech I shared 3 Pillars.  These 3 Pillars were the pillars of this conversation.  The pillars of the leadership conversation are countless.  These are the 3 that I feel compelled to talk about.

Pillar #1

Leadership is inherently a creative process.

I think this fact is forgotten.  Leadership is the ability to hold the space to allow something new to come into existence.  Managers, manage a process that has already been established.  Leaders look at what is missing and then hold the space for what is missing to be created and then to come into the world.  So therefore, leadership is inherently a creative process.

Pillar #2

Leadership is a practice

Much like yoga, leadership is a daily practice.  It is a professional practice, a personal practice, a life practice.  You are never “there” as a leader.  You can always achieve more.  So looking at leadership as a practice will inherently keep you humble and keep you dedicated to the creative process that is leadership.

Pillar #3

Leadership is worth it

When you get to the end of your life as we all will and do, being a leader isn’t one of the things that one will regret.  Not leading enough on the other hand would be.  We only get one life and encouraging yourself to step into leadership challenges makes this life richer and fuller.  So it is important to keep reminding yourself that while taking on the leadership role can be uncomfortable it is worth it!!

Leadership is a huge topic and you can go in 1000 different directions.  But I guess what I want to leave you with is that for me leadership is the willingness to take personal responsibility for your own life.  If I can’t lead myself then how can I really lead others?  So the question of the day is do you consider yourself a leader?  If you do what tips or insights do you want to add to this leadership conversation? I look forward to learning from you….