Last time I was discussing some of the leadership lessons of Medicines for Humanity.
Another of these lessons is that, if leadership is a decision that is open and accessible to everyone, leadership should happen at every level of an organization.
Everybody in a group can make the decision to have a positive influence. We can do this in two ways.
First, as we see in the example of Medicines for Humanity, we can all make the decision to commit ourselves to a shared cause. Second, we can decide to have a positive influence on our everyday work environment.
In the industry seminars and classes I lead, we often emphasize the following concept: Whether one is Mahatma Gandhi or Rosa Parks, a large company CEO or a staff member at an NGO, the basic decision to lead is always the same. A leader at any level, and in any endeavor, is an individual who is willing to take a stand.
The basic decision to lead is a decision to influence one’s world rather than accept it the way it is. In many of life’s situations, it is easier to say that there is nothing we can do to change things.
For example, it would be far easier to ask: “”Who am I to take a stand against something like child mortality in the impoverished world?” Or, in our daily lives, it would be far easier to ask: “Why should it be my role to improve the atmosphere of this workplace. After all, I’m just an employee”.
Leadership, though, is about using one’s ability to influence, and about choosing to have a positive impact on our organizations, large or small.