Do you think of yourself as a leader?

Some of you might know that I’m good friends with Colleen Barrett, who stepped down as President of Southwest Airlines two years ago.  It’s interesting – at Southwest Airlines, they say that all of their people are leaders, including those who don’t have management positions. It’s because they think everyone can have a positive impact on others. That’s consistent with the way we at Blanchard define leadership—it’s an influence process. Anytime you’re trying to influence the thinking, beliefs, or development of someone else, you’re engaging in leadership. I think the reason people like the title of The One Minute Manager better than if it had been called The One Minute Leader was that a lot of people don’t think of themselves as leaders. When I do sessions, sometimes I’ll ask big groups of managers, “How many of you think of yourself as a leader?” and less than one-third of them raise their hands. Somehow they think the word leader is reserved for high-level positions like Presidents and CEOs. In reality, when I ask folks to list influential people in their lives who have impacted them the most, they very seldom mention managers or supervisors at work. They usually talk about parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, coaches, or teachers. So there are life-role leadership roles as well as organizational leadership roles. It’s an interesting thing.

So I want every one of you to remember that you are a leader. Each of you has the ability to influence other people, whether it’s a coworker, a kid at home, a spouse, or a friend. Because anytime you attempt to influence the thinking, beliefs, or development of someone else, you are engaging in leadership. So we’re all leaders. It’s just a challenge to get people to think that way. So be good to yourself. Be a good leader this week. Impact people in a positive way for the greater good!

2 thoughts on “Do you think of yourself as a leader?

  1. Bravo,
    We have a church leadership meeting once a month for men and women. We all have the ability to influence the people around us on many different topics. For us it is God in our lives. But there are many other things we can lead others too. Chris Milian

  2. As you mentioned, we’re all leaders.

    Above all, the best way to be a good leader is that everyone should be a creator based upon his or her own life’s vision and goals. The starting point is from ourselves.

    Let’s lead ourselves as well as the world with love and positive energy.

    Thanks for sharing your insight.

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