How ‘Leadership moments’ can develop your capacity to lead

Recently in the article How ‘aware’ are you? I explained that awareness is a characteristic of Servant Leadership. Another benefit of being ‘aware’ is that it opens up the opportunities for you to develop your capacity to lead.

It is my view that too many people see leadership as only being in the realm of formal roles. In that context, many people don’t see themselves as leaders nor their own capacity to lead because they have never held a ‘formal’ leadership role. Of course this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and people who have this view of the world and themselves rarely become formal leaders.

I would also argue that these people also miss opportunities to ‘lead’ when ‘leadership moments’ arise. Proimarily because they just don’t see them.

What are, ‘Leadership moments’?

To me, a leadership moment is any time that a set of circumstances arise that are quietly asking, or sometimes screaming for someone to take action. Just today at my eldest son’s Under 10s football match a barbeque had been prepared by two of the parents at the conclusion of the game. Quickly a line formed as the children, their parents and family members queued for some food. One of the ‘cooks’ was called away due to an urgent issue. Suddenly there was only one person trying to cook and serve food. The ‘Leadership moment’, while only ‘visible’ to some appeared. What do you think that ‘Leadership moment’ was? Not everyone noticed. Would have you? Even if you did notice the opportunity, what would have done?

Stepping out of the queue and helping to cook the barbeque, or at least asking if this action would be helpful, was what this moment was asking to be done.

‘Leadership moments’ call for someone to take action. Strangely, this can also mean that you consciously choose not to take action (see How doing nothing can be an example of leadership).

Other examples of ‘Leadership moments’ include:
You may be at work with a colleague who has a presentation and they are expressing their concerns about the presentation to you. They express that they don’t think they are ‘up to it’ and you would do a far better job than them. Either you can be ‘caught’ in their negative self-talk or you can remind them of the good job that they have done in the past and support them through their presentation, and then remind them at the end that they had not only survived but done a great job. In this example it might be easier to do the presentation for them, but would that really help them in their development?

You might be in the foyer of your office building and you see someone who looks lost. What do you do?

You are out with your friends and you can see that one of them is drinking too much and is getting a bit rowdy. What do you do?

I am not suggesting that you should take action on every ‘Leadership moment’ that presents itself to you. That might in fact be selfish (others need to be able to take opportunities to develop too). I am saying that if you consciously raise your awareness of the ‘Leadership moments’ that are around you, and then you consciously decide to take action or consciously decide not to take action, both can be examples of developing your leadership.

After all, participants in the leadership programs that I facilitate often nominate helping, guiding, taking action. foresight etc. as characteristics of leadership.

What are your examples of ‘Leadership moments’? How have they helped you to develop?

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
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