We all know we need better leadership.
But what do we actually mean by that?
Because more of what we have right now isn’t what we have in mind, or need.
I think that we don’t need more leaders, we need more leading. By everyone.
The pandemic has shown what is possible. When lockdowns happened, organisations were thrown into crisis. The ‘leadership’, the people in the big hats at the top of the organisation, didn’t know what to do.
But the people IN the organisation, the ones that actually do stuff, did. Or rather, they decided to figure out a way. They tried stuff out, they experimented quickly and found unorthodox ways to get things done. They adapted to the situation and did their level best to keep the show on the road.
In short, they led the way.
It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t always robust or stable, it was a bit Heath-Robinson, but they made it work.
That’s what leading looks like. Stepping up and making a difference. Adapting the circumstances.
People also reached out to each other, supported each other, helped each other through difficult and unprecedented times. They showed compassion, asking “how can I help you? How can I make it a better day?”. That’s leading too.
And they showed humility. They didn’t pretend they had the answers, they didn’t try to bullshit their way through, they just said “I don’t know. But we’re going to try and figure it out together”.
That’s why I think we don’t need better leadership, we need more leading by more people.
Adapting and experimenting.
If you think you can’t lead, you’re wrong. You can but you may need to develop your own style that suits your personality and strengths, because that makes it easier and more natural to you. The way you lead should just be an extension of yourself, so it’s just another way of being that you have. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow and it’s all part of who you are.
The pandemic has shown that our ‘leaders’ don’t have the answers and they aren’t going to save us.
But you can. We can. And now is the time to step up and shape the future.