We all have the ability to tap into the qualities of being a good leader. Close your eyes for a moment and think of someone who you feel represents a good leader. How do they hold themselves? What are the qualities that they have that you feel are leadership-worthy? What period of time did they live in?
Leaders don’t only have to be living now. The best leaders demonstrate qualities that are admirable, inspirational, and memorable. And I challenge you to think of those who live among us. We need only reflect to summon up images of those people who have made their mark on history, some more personally on our own lives, but all who represent the qualities of leadership. I encourage you to consider that all of the things that make a good leader are within the reach of each of us.
If I think back to when I was a little girl, some of the leaders in my life were not famous. They were simply my grandmother, my parents, some trusted teachers, a friendly neighbor, and at times my sibling or cousins, when we weren’t conspiring mischief. They were all individuals who inspired me to hone my own leadership qualities and helped me to discover that leadership exists inside of all of us.
If we think about the present, it is easier to recognize who is not a good leader. Sometimes that fact becomes glaringly evident in the controversy that exists and bombards us on social media or television. Perhaps it is a call to all of us to find that leader within and bring him or her to the surface.
Two key indicators of leadership that we must harness and bring to the forefront of our lives and our communities are authenticity and initiative. Be authentic in your words, deeds, and actions. Model authenticity in all the things that you do in your life at home, in public, and at work. Somebody is watching. It may not even be someone you know. Perhaps the way you handle the next situation at the supermarket check out is exactly what the child in the shopping cart behind you needed to see. Perhaps doing a good deed and not thinking that you got noticed is something that someone sees from their window, and it inspires them to be the next great leader in service to our community. Being authentic and tapping into that part of you that wants to make a difference makes you a good leader in your life.
Take initiative to get involved. Leaders do not only have to be the one at the podium speaking. Leaders are also those who do service in the background and are perhaps, at times, more valuable than the person who is speaking at the podium. Without somebody taking the role of doing service in some capacity, the job that needs to be done in the community cannot happen. So whether we are talking about our home, social community, or a professional community someone somewhere is taking the lead of making everything happen, and we have to give some credit where credit is due. The list of leaders taking turns and roles all around us is endless. Where do you fit in? Where are you taking a leading role?
Jacqueline Muller is Clinical Director and Owner of Dynamic Intervention Wellness Solutions. She is a NY State Licensed Clinical Social Worker.