Leadership is An Art, A Science, and A Lifelong Journey

Leadership begins with your first breath and ends with your last. It involves every aspect of your life from the moment you awake until the moment you fall asleep. Why is it that sometimes we forget this?

We jump in the car on the way to work on Monday morning and the first time thStepping stonese car in front stops rather than speeds through the amber light we yell, “Great, now I am going to be late!” At lunch, we are given too much change at the cafe, and just walk away, as we don’t have “time” to wait in line to correct the mistake. On the way home on the bus, there are no seats available for the pregnant woman who gets on the bus. You are up the back of the bus and happy to give up your seat, but that would involve yelling past 40 other people so you pretend you haven’t seen her. We get home from work to find our children have dropped half their afternoon snack all over the kitchen floor, after you spent most of Sunday morning cleaning it. Instead of pausing, we start yelling at them to clean it up.

There are countless acts of leadership that we forget about. There are many instances or moments in time when we can lead ourselves, and others more effectively. Moments that we can stay true to ourselves, and what is important, and demonstrate both of these to others, and yet sometimes we cho0se not to.

Why is it that we most often associate leadership with what happens in the Boardroom, or on the oval, and not in each and every moment of our life?

It is all those moments added together that are the sum of our total leadership. And it is sometimes those moments that we least equate with leadership that are the most significant in terms of our own development as individuals, and as leaders.

If we are able to stay centred and present at the traffic lights, we may instead think about how we could have left home a few minutes earlier so as not to need to get every green traffic light on the way to work.

If we pause and think about the significance of the change to the person serving us, will their till balance at the end of the day and what will the consequences be for them? And regardless of the cashier, how will we truly feel walking away with a few extra dollars that are not our own? If we also think about how we spend our “time,” we may be able to see there are many hours in the day, and look at whether we are getting the most out of them.

If we stood up and made an effort to ensure the pregnant lady had a seat, maybe we would see how a little effort goes a long way. It could have started a chain reaction and maybe someone near by would have assisted her.

If we are able to pause before we enter our home and remember home is for the messy, imperfect, and intangible side of life, a place we can relax in the dysfunction, and we take time reflect upon the love and joy that our messy children bring to our lives, we would have gratitude that we have children that are safe and well and able to mess up our floors.

The art of leadership is that we are all born leaders. From the moment of our first breath, we lead. Each decision we make in our lives influences others around us. We certainly determine what our team (our parents) are up to 24 hours a day from the moment we are born, from feeding us to chasing us around and attempting to keep us safe.

At school the kind of lunch we bring influences the kind of lunch our friends want.

When we decide on our careers, our friends also consider how that career would fit them.

When we buy products and services our social networks are influenced. Friends and colleagues find out what we have bought and decide whether they are going to buy the same brands.

And of course at work individuals, teams, and whole organisations are influenced by our behaviour, as each one of us contribute to the workplace culture to different degrees.

The science of leadership is aplenty. We can gain skills, knowledge, and experience from our coaches and mentors, our trainers, previous bosses and from books, manuals, and online products. We may also develop our skills on the job using successful models and techniques of skillful leaders who have led us.

Regardless of how we develop our own unique style of leadership, we limit our growth as leaders, when we only use these skills in some situations, or forums, demonstrating our ability in Boardroom and forgetting about the kitchen.

Leadership is a lifelong journey. From the moment we breathe we are influencing those around us in many ways. It begins with our parents, our siblings, then friends, later work colleagues and so on. Every decision we make, each action we take in life impacts those around us.

What decisions are you making? What actions are you taking or not taking? How are they influencing those around you?

Are you leading at your best in every moment you can?


  1. Thanks Caryn. Another nice , positive, thought- provoking article. One important way of helping ourselves along that leadership journey is to be clear about the values which guide our decision-making and our leadership style. The key and the challenge is to apply those values in all aspects of our lives.

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