Leadership is a big, big word and one that corporates spend a lot of time defining and growing. For me leadership is something inherently simple – it is about the place you are leading people to and whether or not that is a place that the people want to go and whether or not it is a place where they can be their best selves. Leaders are humble, the focus is on their team not themselves. The heroes are the team, not the leader.

Leadership is when the journey is balanced between the outcome and goal that is required and the people who are doing the doing. Leaders translate, interpret and adapt. They make decisions in the moment based on changing circumstances and they fundamentally know that to get tp there will take the collective intelligence of the whole team. They know it isn’t about them. It isn’t going to be their genius that gets the team to the other side. Their genius is in mobilizing the team. A leader’s genius is in helping people find their way, in keeping morale up, stepping in to avoid known hazards without disempowering or rescuing.

Leadership isn’t about doing or problem solving, it is about enabling the team. The first guard rail is to stop doing and to stop solving problems for people and instead transfer capability to them – enable them to learn how to do this for themselves.

Even more importantly, leadership isn’t something that is awarded to you when you get a specific job title. It doesn’t require formal authority or permission to be granted. Which means that leadership is a choice everyone gets to make. I need to repeat this bit because I see so many people waiting to be given permission to lead. Leadership is a choice YOU get to make. Leadership is a choice about the impact you want to be having.

Where am I going with this ? When leaders find and use their leadership, teams start to become accountable and autonomous and are able to own the way they work. When leaders are living their leadership, they focus not on what is wrong right now, but on how we work with what we have and move forward in a way that empowers everyone.

Being a leader is a lonely place that is seldom recognized, understood or even rewarded in corporate. It doesn’t look like leadership because there are no commands, there is no ‘look at me being a leader’’. Leadership is humble and invisible which means this lever is probably one of the hardest for coaches to live. It is also perhaps the most rewarding.

For more on this lever, see the blog post, Lever 6 : Activating Leadership