The terms ‘leader’ and ‘leadership development’ are often associated with specific job titles and organizational roles. Yet, the essence of true leadership is deeply personal and starts within each of us. In today’s dynamic work environment, leadership is not just for those in designated positions; it’s a skill that every employee should cultivate. Embracing leadership at an individual level — characterized by purpose, intention, accountability, and adaptability — is crucial. As the world and workplace get more technocentric, leadership development helps you remain connected with what it means to be human and stay in control of what being alive means to you. By choosing to prioritize and develop these leadership qualities, each of us will contribute to a more resilient and effective workplace and community. This personal development journey is a critical step in not only advancing your career but also in driving meaningful change within any community, team, or organization you are a part of.
Often, we view our jobs as mere tasks, separate from our personal identity. However, there’s a powerful alternative perspective: seeing your job as a pivotal and meaningful part of your life. Consider the substantial time and energy invested in work; it’s more than just a role, it’s an integral experience shaping who we are. The focus here shifts from the organization, your manager, or team, to a more personal introspection. It’s about using your professional experiences as a tool for self-discovery, personal growth, and a means to more effectively pursue and realize your life’s aspirations.
With this mindset, I advocate for embracing the job as a ‘critical life experience’ rather than just ‘something I do’. There are several compelling reasons for this viewpoint, and I’d like to highlight three key ones.
Reason 1: In life, context: Context is everything
We need context to discover ourselves. It is who we are and how we show up in a context that reveals what we have within us and who we can be. Regardless of the context in which you find yourself, “You” are there ergo “You” will show up one way or another, and in that lies insights about who you are and who you can be.
That job you have now is context; it presents you with a unique opportunity for self-discovery and growth; what will you do with the opportunity?
Reason 2: It’s all about results: To release the value of experiences, you need to be pursuing clear results
Completing a task and achieving a result are two different things. The value of our experiences comes from our pursuit of results. The pursued results give the tasks meaning whether the results are achieved or not. By focusing on results, you peel off the blindfolds and begin to see the full extent and richness of the context and all the experiences made possible. You see and are able to tap the true value and worth — capacity and capability to determine and achieve meaningful goals in any context.
Your job gives you access to the possibility of achieving specific types of results along with the resources needed to pursue it. All that is required is that you show some accountability for those results by demonstrating the necessary capabilities and negotiating for the authority.
Reason 3: Connecting with purpose: Your purpose is the problem you’ve been assigned to solve for others
Being able to offer a solution to a problem is the ultimate result because it focuses on adding value in the form of a solution to the person in a situation or context who needs the problem solved.
You should be motivated and inspired by the types of problems you can solve for people because of the context of your job and the resources available. Are you?
Leadership is not about job titles or career ladders, it’s fundamentally about how you show up where and when the situation and context require you to show up, like in your job.
Try the employee role success assessment and holistic wellness assessment for additional insights. They are free and come with a downloadable PDF report.
If you’d like to have a conversation about this or anything else of mine you’ve seen or read that triggered your interest, please use the link below to find a time that works for you for us to have a conversation. I am looking forward to it.