Consultant, mentor, life coach, after-dinner and motivational speaker and team facilitator (also known as social worker, counsellor, human rights activist, comedian, soap opera actor, a columnist, a trainer and even New Zealand’s inaugural Queer of the Year)
The remote control of leadership
"The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already." – John Buchan
Leadership is often mistaken as a quality that only some people possess. When we look for leaders to lead others, we look for particular developed skills and attributes - perhaps extreme competence in a certain area like the arts, sport or technical skill, or superior qualities like confidence or charisma.
But leadership is a quality of which everyone is capable and we all do it at some point in our lives. When was the last time someone you suggested seeing a movie, having coffee or dinner with friends, or doing something, however small, differently at work? That was you being a leader, without even knowing.
Even deciding to change the TV channel is leadership. If you don't believe me, let's do an analysis of the five tasks of leaders, originally developed for business by Warren Bennis (1):
Next time you're looking for leadership, take a lesson from your own inner couch potato. See what potential lies beyond the remote control, by applying these principles to more lofty ideals – like changing the world. My leadership goal at the moment is to move the world beyond ideas of impairment and disability. Here's how I've used Bennis' framework to guide social change:
Thinking in this way about leadership has helped me demystify the role and understand three things:
(1) “Becoming a Leader of Leaders” in Rethinking the Future, Rowan Gibson (ed). Nicholas Brealey Publishing (May 25, 1999)