People Are Looking to You for Leadership
“Every leader has exponential opportunity for influence,” writes Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen CEO Cheryl Bachelder in her book Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others . Considering that Bachelder believes that we all have the opportunity to lead at some point in our lives (at home, in the community or at work), this means we all can be influential.
Then, she goes on to do this interesting bit of math: “If you have 5 full-time people looking to you for leadership, in the year ahead, you have 10,000 hours of influence” with them. That thought alone—that there are thousands of chances for you to influence (in a positive way) the outcomes with others—is compelling. Yet when I first read that passage in Bachelder’s book, I focused on a different part:
“People looking to you for leadership”
Isn’t that an interesting turn of phrase? Typically, sentences like that start with “If you lead a team of 5 people . . .” Instead, this CEO has chosen to highlight that fact that when you are perceived as a leader, people look to you for leadership.
Are you missing opportunities to lead? Sometimes people step up to lead, because nobody else will. It may be a temporary situation, but in that moment, you are a leader. It’s frustrating to watch a person who has a leadership title, but won’t step into the role of leading. How many times have you sat in a meeting that was spinning out of control, only to have the meeting leader not take action? Or perhaps you’ve seen something bad happening in your department, but your leader puts his or her head in the sand and refuses to take action.
Leadership is about doing the right things, at the right time. And the “right” time typically isn’t convenient or easy.
People are looking to you for leadership. Are you providing it to them?

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