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  • Michael Sabbag

Everyone is a Leader

(This post first appeared on Linkedin)

A while back, I wrote a book titled “Developing Exemplary Performance One Person at a Time”. The book presented a coaching model for leaders to continuously help people grow their strengths. When telling people about it I would explain how created the model and how it works. The overwhelming majority of the time people would say, “Oh, my boss needs that”. That always made me wonder why they don’t lead themselves.

It also told me something about them. They were expecting someone else to drive their development. Rather than taking responsibility for improving, many people blamed their lack of development on not having someone that would make them learn something new or try to do something they hadn’t attempted before.

Maybe saying their leader needed to improve was a comment on lack of support, politics, a dissatisfaction with the command and control leadership approach at their company, or any of a number of things leaders do to disengage people. My feeling from talking with many people at all levels within organizations is that they want to do good and want opportunities to grow but allow themselves to be dis-empowered by their manager and organizational culture. They blame rather than lead themselves.

Early in my career I had a great boss. She was a role model and helped me learn a lot about training and development. She provided opportunities for me to do different types of work so that I could expand my skills and become a better performer. I felt she cared about me and wanted to see me do well. She also had goals to meet and my performance helped her achieve department goals. Although she took time to know me and provide direction and support, I ultimately was in charge of my direction and performance. I had to lead myself.

We all have choices to make each day. Some are small and the consequences are insignificant. Others may seem small but the consequences slowly accumulate until we one day realize that we’re not on the right track. Believe it or not, that is a good moment. Realizing we aren’t where we want to be presents us with an opportunity to make a conscious decision about what to do next. Either we can step up and lead ourselves or be a victim and blame others. The choice is yours if you take it.

So, do you want to lead yourself?

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