Lead by Example

What do Taylor Swift, Bill and Malinda Gates, Lebron James and Pope Francis have in common? They all made Fortune’s 2015 list of the world’s 50 greatest leaders. I discovered this information while “Googling” around the internet:

Since I believe every moment can be a teachable moment, I asked myself, “what do I have in common with them; how can I become more like them? I’m certainly not as talented as Taylor Swift; I don’t have the resources of Bill and Malinda Gates; I’m not as tall as Lebron James; and I’m not sure what to say about Pope Francis.” So again, I turned to Google, and I stumbled upon a TED talk about everyday leadership:

Everyday Leadership

I liked that title about “everyday leadership”—I’m an everyday kind of gal so maybe everyday leadership is easier for me to relate to, identify with, learn from… you get the picture. This particular TED talk had some very powerful messages about redefining leadership, a definition that is less about changing the world and more about focusing on the powerful impact we, as individuals, have on each other’s lives. So I began to reflect on people that have had a big impact on my life. You probably won’t find them on a top 50 list anywhere, and they won’t be the examples used in textbooks. Still, they have had a powerful impact on my life, and I consider them everyday leaders:

  • Sharon Randol, or should I say Obi-Wan Kenobi—you generously shared great wisdom and knowledge with one important caveat… it must always be used for the ‘good of the cause.’
  • Jay Wolf—you once told someone who told someone who told me that you thought I was a pretty good communicator. A gift beyond measure. I’m sure you have no recollection of saying that and maybe no recollection of me; thanks anyway.
  • Shirley, I don’t even know your last name—you are always so glad to see me; you have a smile that lights up my world; and I KNOW you really care about ME.
Everyday Difference

Imagine for a minute what it would be like to work in an organization that practiced everyday leadership. Employees would not be waiting for their annual performance review to hear and understand what they did well today. Organizational performance would improve because everyday leadership is personal, and it would be happening literally every day. Finally, our pool of leaders in the present and in the making would not be waiting in the wings to LEARN how to be UPPERCASE leaders but instead would be regularly practicing the small things that make a BIG difference.


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