A leader is often referred to as a person of influence.
We may differ on the definition of what this means, but when people are chosen, they are generally picked because of their proven, or potential, influence on a system. This is the nature of community in action, working, playing, socializing, whatever the situation may be. We look to some to lead the rest. They then have influence on how we organize and develop as a group. But is that the end of the story?
Let’s take the example of 4 family members living in a 1 bathroom apartment. All need to wake up and go to a function together at the same time. We may think we are the one in control because we woke up early and got ready the fastest. But in reality, the person with the greatest influence in the situation was the one that made everyone wait so they could all leave together. It is a negative influence, but if influence is the mark of leadership, then the last one ready was in fact leading the entire group. One might argue that leadership entails so much more than this, but watching any one of our systems at work might prove otherwise. Most parents of young children will attest to this!
A leader influences others to do well in their system or setting. Regardless of role. This is why I maintain that all lead, no matter what office or title they have received. The quiet organizer can impact greatly the direction and wellbeing of the outspoken salesperson. Vice versa is true as well. Influence goes both way, and when one realizes this, they in fact become a leader in their world.
Have you taken a moment to consider your influence in your setting?