I’ve been thinking about leadership lately.
Many children’s programs are designed to foster leadership skills. Why? Does this imply that everyone should have leadership skills? That everyone should be a leader?
This interests me because for the longest time, I never felt like a “Leader”. I didn’t have anything in common with “Leaders” I saw. It didn’t resonate.
But I’ve realized the answer is yes. Everyone should learn leadership skills.
Even if you have no aspirations to start a company or lead a nation, leadership is everywhere.
It’s obviously present on smaller scales — in local organizations, communities, and workplaces. And even if you don’t aspire to be at the top, in any non-trivial organization, it’s still leadership all the way down. Even if you explicitly reject managing people, you can still find yourself as a leader — for example, being a skilled individual specialist carries leadership in its own way.
But less obviously, as soon as you start any kind of project or endeavor of any kind — guess what, you’re now a leader. Any kind of pursuit creates an opening for a leader. By default, the creator fills the role.
Examples of endeavors:
- Starting a family
- Co-creating a relationship
- Organizing a party
- Planning a trip
- A creative practice
Without leadership, you can only ever be a “leaf” node, at the end of the chain. Without leadership, you can only ever be a consumer, a viewer, an audience member.
Even if you never start any endeavor, at the very least, you are the leader of your own life. (Which, by the way, is a creative project.)
So, yes, everyone should have leadership skills — not because everyone “should” be a leader, but because everyone already is.