Space: Leadership

“Between stimulus and response is a space.
In that space is the freedom and power to choose.”

Steven Covey


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Space Series

Leadership

I’ve thought deeply about leadership for 35 years, starting with the science of it. I have a doctorate in organizational science. I’ve pursued leadership as a scholarly subject. I’ve studied it as a very practical subject in terms of organizational change and leadership development. 

Here’s what I’ve learned about leadership. 

I think most of the world is mistaken about it. I believe that leadership is a consequence. Leadership is a side effect of working towards a big important thing – since that thing is bigger than you, you attract others. 

My belief is that leadership starts with assuming responsibility for something. It could be a project, it could be an initiative, it could be a journey. I like to call it a gap in the universe.

That’s what I did. I found a gap in the universe. 

I found a big thing that nobody else was paying attention that bothered me. 

So if it bothered me, then that meant I had the opportunity to do something about it. In my case, the “thing” is the huge misunderstanding about what responsibility is, and how it works in the mind. 

True leadership starts with stepping up to take ownership of some space, some problem space, or solution space or challenge. 

Leadership means attracting others because the goal is bigger than you. 

The good news is that if you’re not a manager, if you don’t have authority, if you don’t have people assigned to you, then the way that you attract followers is through your example, your inspiration – and that’s true leadership.

My challenge to you: Start leading today

Take a look at what’s on your plate and find something there that you want to pursue with greatness. You want to take 100% responsibility for it. Dedicate yourself to it. Commit yourself to it. 

Make sure that there’s a fundamental change happening in what you’re doing to it. And then don’t be very surprised when you turn around and see followers.

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