Monday Hustle: You Can Be A Leader Without Nabbing The Top Spot At Work, And Here Are A Few Ways How

Monday Hustle: You Can Be A Leader Without Nabbing The Top Spot At Work, And Here Are A Few Ways How

I was sick of hearing the word ‘leader’.

It had become such a buzzword in the workplace that it made my ears burn as if a literal swarm of bees were attacking them. The term has become blurred in its meaning as more work environments have used it out of context, and I feel like it needs to be reeled back in to something that everyone can understand and identify with. Because buzzword or not, everyone has the potential to be a leader, not just career-wise specifically, but of quite frankly anything you want to put your mind to.

Contrary to popular belief, a leader doesn't have to be a manager, CEO or authoritive figure in the workplace. In fact I believe partly that as a consequence of the meaning of ‘leader’ being blurred, that it can be applied to all facets of your life, rather than being merely reserved to your 9 to 5. 

In my opinion — and that of Jo Miller, a leading authority on women’s leadership who comprised this list — a leader is someone who…

1. Sees the big picture

2. Focuses on the future

3. Sets a vision and direction

4. Strives for continuous improvement

5. Focuses on the others

6. Communicates with transparency and gives open, honest, and direct feedback

7. Listens to understand and asks the right questions at the right time

8. Interacts comfortably with all types of people 

9. Stays positive and constructive during difficult conversations and manages crises and conflict with ease

10. Finds middle ground and a path forward

11. Goes above and beyond

12. Likes to succeed

13. Gets things done and stays goal-oriented and solution-focused

14. Acts decisively

15. Makes decisions in times of ambiguity

16. Exudes energy and determination

17. Pushes for what she or he believes in

18. Embodies a positive attitude

19. Has tenacity and curiosity

20. Strives to accomplish what they commit to doing

21. Takes ownership and assumes responsibility

22. Sets high standards for themselves

23. Embraces change and course-corrects when needed

24. Takes risks

25. Is fearless

26. Exudes passion, honesty, and dependability

27. Wins trust

28. Collaborates

29. Operates with integrity and fairness

30. Has a thirst for learning

31. Shares know-how

32. Shows empathy

33. Is supportive and caring

34. Earns the respect of people 

35. Is an influencer

36. Inspires and empowers others

37. Motivates others during times of uncertainty

38. Influences without authority

39. Engages differing points of view

40. Instills a sense of community

41. Creates a shared sense of purpose

42. Inspires people to act and move toward goals

43. Enables others to be successful

44. Allows people to learn from mistakes

45. Empowers others

46. Gives credit where it is due

47. Celebrates others’ achievements

48. Encourages others to do their best

49. Enjoys seeing others succeed

50. Helps others shine

Miller goes on to list 100, so I've only taken half of them, but already it paints a great picture of what a leader actually is.

When I read that list, I know that every badass woman possesses a handful and more of those qualities at least. You yourself may not even realise that people recognise you as a leader because some of these come so naturally to you. So when you wonder to yourself, is it that simple to be a leader? The answer is YES.

It’s great to have those high-flying career women as role models and inspiration for leadership, and it may frighten you greatly that you don’t think you could ever do what they do. It may also surprise you that you probably can, because there's already a leader inside of you — you just might not be using the word ‘leader’. You may using ‘friend’, ‘colleague’, ‘confidante’, ‘coach’, or just being your kind, warm and wise self.

So the next step comes with a new question: what (or who) do you want to be a leader for?