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April 11, 2012

A Leader Defined: Who's a Leader in Today's 21st-Century Organization?

I recently was humbled to be the keynote speaker for the American Society of Baking during their annual meeting of members, this year titled, “Rise Up.”  They were interested in helping all their members improve how they lead and communicate in their industry, companies, communities, and how they lead themselves.

Kudos to them for realizing that the first person one needs to lead and take care of is oneself, if one’s going to be able to meaningfully focus on others.

After the session, an attendee came up to me, saying he considered asking a question, but rather thought he’d catch me after my presentation.  I think I fielded about 15 minutes of great, smart questions.

He commented on my multiple uses of the term “leader,” and mentioned how he thought that left out a lot of people in his organization. “Not everyone is a leader,” he said.

I thanked him for his excellent question, and mentioned I wished he would have asked it because chances are others had the same thought.  It could have been another great learning moment.

Here’s my view on “leaders.”  I believe that everyone can – and should  – lead from wherever one is inside an organization, irrespective of level, title, or whether one manages others or not. 

To survive today, every organization needs people willing to lead at every level and in every position.  What’s more, leading is one way in which everyone can continue to contribute and more importantly grow.

It’s a win-win.

The trick is being able to use your influence to get others to follow you.  One can’t be a leader – no matter the definition – without followers. 

In what ways do you lead, and how can you get more followers?

-David Grossman


Tag(s): Leadership

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