Living and Giving

You Start Leading the Minute You Wake Up

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Herminia Ibarra recently wrote a wonderful article on the Harvard Business Review titled \”Becoming a Leader Is Not Like Improving Your Golf Swing.\”  Using golf as an analogy, she discusses a number of key ideas about how we can grow as leaders.  I wanted to share a few thoughts of my own on leadership in response.

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Dear Herminia,

What a lovely article which will support so many budding leaders.  Leadership is not only a personality, or a personality test. In fact, I strongly believe we are all leaders. If you impact but one person each day (and many of impact hundreds simply by our daily interactions) then you are already leading.
I wrote an article on Philanthropy at the Dry Cleaners.  It speaks to the fact that being kind and caring to all we meet is imperative in our day to day, especially with the person behind the counter at the dry cleaners, or the bank teller, or the person in the car in front of you.  In my business of philanthropy, we seem to \’dumb down\’ the word to mean money. But philanthropy is the love of humankind. 
All good leadership starts with people. And we don\’t turn that switch on and off at work. As we continue to interact with people in a principled manner, we then become more comfortable with leadership, and each new situation for growth it brings.
You can\’t lead many people until you learn to lead yourself interacting with one person. We start leading the minute we wake up each day!
People Leadership and Strategic Leadership
What is true for People Leadership, is then also true for Strategic Leadership.  We have to put ourselves in multiple situations, again, again and again.  I remember starting UniversalGiving. As a first time CEO I had to shift from much internal operations and client relationships (still very important) to constantly watching the big picture and trends in our industry.  At first I felt my mind was so crowded, full, trying to process and synthesize all the information.  But bit by bit, it began to become natural. Now I don\’t even think of it, and I love it. If I hadn\’t pushed myself, I would have missed out on understanding Life in a whole new way. And I wouldn\’t have been able to lead effectively either.
We all have some qualities we are predisposed to. Sometimes we need to work and build these existing leadership qualities. Sometimes we need to branch out and encourage ourselves in new realms.  But the leadership truth remains: We must continually grow and build in leadership…it is not a static process, or one with an end point.
Thank you for a wonderful article and for encouraging us to take leadership to an entirely different level!
Warm Regards, Pamela