Margaret Wheatley, in her book Turning to One Another, provides a definition of leadership that is so straightforward and simple. She says,
“In working with many people in very different cultures, I’ve learned to define leadership differently than most. A leader is anyone willing to help, anyone who sees something that needs to change and takes the first steps to influence that situation… everywhere in the world, no matter the economic or social circumstances, people can step forward to try and make a small difference.”
A leader is anyone willing to help. If that is all it takes, then there is no reason you and I can’t be leaders. Wheatley has four simple steps in the process: see something that needs to change, step forward, try, and envision a small difference.
Seeing something that needs to change isn’t too difficult. I usually have an opinion about what needs to be different! But recently I read this quote, which really made me stop and think:
The heights charm us but the steps do not; with the mountains in our view we love to walk the plains. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
I can envision making a difference, but am I stepping up? Am I leading?
I think it’s important to focus on the “small difference” that I can make. I am more likely to see every starving African child, which is overwhelming, than take action in my own town. But Wheatley simply says, step forward. Just try. Envision a small difference. Seems like I’ve heard that somewhere before… maybe in It’s Your World- Change It!
Tell me your story of stepping up. What did you try and how did it go? Did the experience help you encourage another woman or girl who saw a need, but was still walking the plains?