One of the reasons people are interested in leadership development is because it so closely aligned with personal development. Working on one’s leadership capacity requires some work in the area of personal growth and an understanding of one’s temperament, personality, and skill set.
With that in mind, I am always excited to hear from students who are eager to learn more about leadership. I believe each person can learn to be a better leader. While some people have the personal makeup that initially draws others to them, each person can increase their level of influence and find leadership opportunities in their environment.
But learning leadership is a contact sport. One can have all of the books, lessons, websites and insights – but that person doesn’t really understand what it means to lead…until he or she actually puts those things into practice.
The temptation is to confine one’s leadership growth to your head. And don’t get me wrong, it is important for a leader to actually THINK like a leader thinks (don’t underestimate the power of reflection and envisioning). But the next (and very important) step is to put that knowledge and insight into ACTION.
The best way to learn how to lead is by leading.
You’ve got to try it, not just think about it.
You need to interact with others, not just imagine yourself doing it.
You need to respond to the needs you see around you, not just read about them.
THINK ABOUT THIS: What have you DONE today to further your leadership development?
How about an experiment?
Experiment: Promote A Cause
One of the ways you can grow your influence is to make a positive impact in the lives of others. This lab focuses on putting your energy behind a cause worth fighting for. The cause you choose is up to you. I would encourage you to select a cause that will make a positive difference in the world.
For example, I support charity:water. I give financially to it and I use my influence to share about the mission of that organization with others. I believe that every person deserves to have access to clean drinking water.
So identify a cause and get behind it. Tell your friends about it. Use your circle of influence to further the mission of that cause. As you do, consider the following questions:
- Why do you think people become interested in causes?
- What influencing power does a cause have?
- What connects you to the people who fight for the same cause you do?
- How does joining and working toward a cause make you feel about yourself?
Once you’ve identified and worked toward a cause, take a moment and share your reflections in the comments below.