Are these people really “Leaders”?

instaquote-15-08-2014-10-41-20I recently spoke with someone about the name of the Lakeland Business Leaders.  He asked, very respectfully, if the members of the group were really “Leaders” in Lakeland.  I explained my perspective of leadership and my own story of how I found my place in this “Leadership Role.”  There are many in Lakeland who likely think of LBL as a joke.  “Who are these people and what makes them think they can call themselves leaders?!”

But to me, leadership is not a title, it’s not based on experience, or knowledge, or even education.

Leadership is based on positive influence.

If someone can positively influence others and make a difference, even a tiny difference, in the lives of others, they are leaders. My story, for the most part,  started with this group, LBL.   Before I formed the Lakeland Business Leaders group, I was no one.  I mean, not to the “official” leaders in Lakeland – no one knew who I was, I was just another new business owner, trying to find my place in the city – no connections, no special relationships.

But I didn’t let that stop me and I don’t think anyone should let their title or position in any situation dictate whether they have permission to make a difference – to be a leader.  No one can (or would) really stop someone if they truly wanted to make a positive difference in some way – whether in a small organization, or in a community with thousands of people.  The only person who can decide if something is important enough to them that they will take the initiative, is that individual.  And the truth is, all anyone needs to be a leader is an idea in which others believe.

My vision for this group is to give people opportunities to be the leaders that I know are within them.  If there’s a leader in me, there’s definitely a leader in everyone.

Apparently, I am not the only one who believes this…

From the book: You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader by Mark Sanborn

“I’ve found that everyone has the opportunity to lead, every day. It doesn’t matter what your position is, or how long you’ve worked at your job, whether you help to run your family, PTAS committee, or a Fortune 100 company. Anyone at any level can learn to be a leader and help shape or influence the world around them.

  • Do you shape your life and career?
  • Do you affect the quality of others’ experiences?
  • Do you inspire or influence others?
  • Do you work to achieve specific goals by working with or coordinating the efforts of others?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions whether you realize it or not, you are a leader.

Leadership expert, John Maxwell describes leadership as positive influence. That is the most simple and elegant definition of leadership I know. In my experience, people lead for different reasons. The one thing they do have in common is passion – passion for life and for what they do.”

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