I once worked in an organisation where the boss was the scariest man around, his “jokes” were like grenades and you hoped not to be in the area when he unleashed one … but the business seemed to hum.  Then again, I’ve experienced the most personable leader who couldn’t quite get the financial runs on the board.  I have known autocratic leaders, sensitive new age leaders and seriously weird leaders, and every day I encounter a bewildering new leadership style. 

Think about the leaders you have experienced in your time, what have they had in common?  Were they charismatic, were they controlling, were they funny, attractive, presidential?

Yet I’d bet that none of them were complete leaders. So who could be?

If one person can’t lead everything all the time, could everyone lead something some of the time?

In any group of people there will be some who are inspirational and can get everyone excited by possibilities, some who are a little more practical and focused on immediate realities. Still others might be attuned to problems and limitations, they can see why something won’t work before it’s even been tried, while some people can see how those problems can be overcome with some clever design.

Everyone of these people has something powerful to offer the rest of the group, both as a contributor and as a leader. Sometimes we need creativity more than cynicism, sometimes it’s the other way ‘round. Sometimes we need caution, other times we need courage.

Each time is an opportunity for us to step up, to show leadership through our own particular skillset, so imagine if we could determine when that time would be and took a more flexible approach to leadership; the right person providing the right talent in the right place at the right time.

Maybe we need to shift our view of leaders, from talented individuals to multi-talented teams.

Imagine a leadership model that allowed people to shine when they wanted to, a collaborative model that meant that no one person would have to bear all the burden. Imagine an approach that would allow everyone to be engaged in the process, one that would lead to greater professional development of the entire group.

Maybe today’s leaders should be thinking about how to delegate their responsibilities to unlock the leadership potential of the people around them..

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Written by Lisa Smith

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Lisa is a professional thinker dedicated to helping people unlock their innate creativity and to empower them to think differently – for themselves. She is passionate about building innovative cultures and about harnessing and engaging talent to create thinking communities. Lisa holds an MBA, specialising in organisational change and innovation, which forms the nucleus of her work. She relishes opportunities to share the Minds at Work thinking strategies with government bodies, socially responsible corporate, educators, community groups and farmers, helping them to turn their big ideas into realities.