Leadership isn’t about position.
Leadership is about influencing others – encouraging and pushing them toward a greatness that they may otherwise never see.
I’ve written about, talked about, and advocated for this constantly.
But it’s not really true.
At least, that is what my life has been saying.
Several months ago I stepped out of a leadership position. I had been fortunate to serve in the area for quite awhile, and deeply love and care for the hundreds of volunteers on the teams that were under my leadership. But I knew it was time to get out of the way and allow the department to grow past me.
Suddenly I found myself without a direct team of people to lead.
And it seems like daily I have been asking myself the question:
How do I lead when I no longer have a team to lead?
It’s been a struggle….
I’ve had to dig deep and really determine if I believe that I can lead in the absence of a leadership position. No one reports to me. I am not directly responsible for anyone.
I’m determined not to listen to the lie that I can no longer lead without a team of people behind me. Instead, I’m reminding myself of the truth – that I can influence others no matter where I am or what I’m doing.
Here are four ways that I’m learning to lead from where I am:
I lead the way with my attitude. I get to choose whether I am going to see the positive in circumstances or the negative. Others are always watching to see how a leader responds to things – if I keep an awareness of that, it helps me choose to have a positive attitude.
Why is it so stinking easy to let off the gas and try to coast our way through life?? I talked about that several weeks ago – how we are not meant to coast. I can choose to give 100% toward whatever is in my path at this moment. If I am leading a team, that means giving 100% to them. When there is no team to lead, I choose to work hard at whatever is in my path – relationships, family, commitments, and my own growth.
3) Continued Support
One of the greatest things I’ve gotten to watch over the past months is how the team I previously led is growing and achieving even greater things. It would be very easy for me to resent the fact that they are thriving without me – but that’s silly, because I chose to leave them – knowing I was the lid keeping them from their best. Instead, I get to continue to support and encourage the team and celebrate with them as they thrive.
4) Instill Hope and Encouragement
My purpose is to inspire others through encouragement and coaching to achieve more than they thought possible. I don’t have to have a team to fulfill my purpose. I can live it out through my family, my friends, and even through this blog. I need to look around me and identify who has already been placed in my path.
I’m learning – slowly but surely – how to lead without a traditional position of leadership. I am beginning to see that it’s still not about me, it’s about others – those around me who I can influence. And I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to lead.