Leadership Has No Boundary. It Looks the Same Wherever You Live!

Recently, while working with a client, I had the opportunity to lunch with two business owners from Europe. We began with casual conversations, and I was impressed with their understanding of our NFL football teams. Eventually, our conversation turned to business and the similar challenges we all experienced. The most interesting subject was people. It didn’t matter what continent we were on; people offered the greatest challenges. More specifically, we agreed we each had good workers and decent managers but were lacking enough leaders to go around. Some questions we discussed were:

Is leadership taught or is it innate in an individual? We discussed personal growth plans and what types of training newer leaders needed. We discussed the benefit of giving candidates for leadership the opportunity to lead before being promoted into a leadership position. Will people like this person as their leader? Will they follow this person? Will employees trust this person as their leader? Great questions that needed to be answered prior to promoting a person.

By this time in the meal, I think we were more interested in what we were discussing than the food. Those who know me will find that hard to believe! We discussed the value of climbing the corporate ladder and how that process increased the leader’s skills, as a new leader works his or her way to a leadership position by working under several leaders. For each leader they worked for, they identified skills they liked and disliked. The young leader kept the desired skills and discarded the skills they did not want to emulate from their past leaders. Now that they have their new position, they will apply those desired skills and create the results needed to succeed.

We talked about identifying “leaders without stripes” in an organization. These are the employees with the charisma and natural leadership skills that others will follow, and do! We agreed these individuals can be very valuable to a leader and should be embraced and coached. In today’s global environment, leaders need to be change agents, innovators, and visionaries. In our conversation we agreed, no matter what continent you are on, leaders are in short supply.

Leadership is sometimes described as getting people to do what you need them to do and for them to like it! We agreed that leadership is much more complicated than this definition and there are certainly various levels of leadership. As Senior leaders, our job is to create more leaders, no matter the industry or country where we do business. In my career, one of my goals for developing my staff was my desire to provide each individual the opportunity to be smarter than I am when they get to be my age and my status in life. Leadership is not just a title; it is the act of creating more leaders.