"Sometimes, leaders do not recognize environmental changes or, perhaps more importantly, the need for them to behave differently because of these changes. Leaders will often cling to the past or continue “business as usual.” They think that past behaviors that have proven successful will again carry them into the future. While they are correct in many respects, one set and style of behaviors rarely moves a person seamlessly throughout his or her leadership career. At each transition, a leader must be prepared to adopt new and different behaviors to succeed. This ability (or failure) to recognize, navigate, and make personal changes influences the effectiveness of leaders over time."- C. Riordan, 2008
As a person who has had many leadership roles, both naturally and through position I have learned the ability to recognize the difference and intersections between the two. The first thing I began to understand is to separate who I am from the term leader. Yes, I have a natural ability to command a group, move things forward or have a major impact on people's thinking and behavior. That in itself does not always put me in the position of a leader or mean that my natural way of leading is efficient for all matters or all types of positional leadership. Understanding when people are responsive to who you are naturally and the ways they have seen you interact with systematic practices is vital. Responding to people's desire to see you in a leadership role is important. Sometimes I have found myself in leadership roles unbeknownst to myself and also have learned to allow my natural participation in life to be labeled by others when the behavior matches the description of the terminology necessary to identify what is occurring for particular audiences and demographics. Leadership transitions can also simply be personal growth. Knowing how to be authentic in natural and systematic leadership is a excellent skill to have.
Are you the person who can see an open field and organize a group of people to have a relay race? Are you then able to see a can and create the idea to play "kick the can"? Or are you able to allow the person who can see that as a plausible step state this and implement appropriately? Are you then able to see when there is a kick ball and then bases, then a park, then an indoor playhouse and then an entire amusement park? Can you create these adjustments, handle these adjustments, delegate the need for ideas that create these adjustments, or allow others to take the lead when they can see these adjustments being made? More importantly, while these adjustments are occurring can you still manage to see the importance of the relay race?
Some errors in leadership come from not understanding the difference between one's leadership role and one's personal changes, habits or behaviors. Did you at some point miss out on key opportunities because of using someone's method in a way that is not true to yourself? Do stereotypes about leadership cause you to miss out on the opportunity to vacation in Brazil with leaders or people from other communities; then cause you to wonder why others are having a particular experience, that you may have declined knowingly or unknowingly through words and actions?
Being a leader also is knowing how to participate in established rules and practices that still showcase and embody who you are. The way you implement and plan can call to order other pathways for people to learn and share valuable time space and information with you. I valuable experience for me was when I learned that there was a rule that things should not be posted on the walls of a particular location. Where others may have put up a fight or simply cancelled particular activities, I saw an opportunity to be creative, learn why that rule was established in the first place and showcase that the focus should be on the activity, event or awareness one is seeking to the community. Did I leave out any of my humor and sarcasm... of course not. How much fun to have people walking around wearing sandwich board style posters to promote non violence and then having the ability to hang them around the stairwell so that anyone who would want to pick one up and walk around like a sandwich board could also participate (way more exposure than a wall that no one may walk by or an expensive wall that needs to last for centuries and no, no one wants to worry about the paint chipping from somebodies Fun-Tak idea).
I learned about ways transitions can impact a leaders performance. One of these ways is categorized as "falling behind". As an avid experiential learner I love my experiences that can often seem like I am falling behind. I understand feminism and that my role in school, employment, etc is something that is fought for by generations before me. As a self proclaimed "I want to stay at home and get boot rubs from my man feminist" I recognize that the areas that I may seem like I am falling behind in are imperative to recognize as major strides for the simple fact that my participation in the area may be unwarranted, extracurricular or very new. I love where I fall behind, because it is somewhere I do not have to be. It also shows me who is willing to teach me, grow me and is impressed by what I am doing naturally enough to elevate me or give me the recognition that I have earned unbeknownst to myself or intersecting systematic practices.
There is leadership, there is leadership language, but most importantly there is YOU. Be that first and foremost. The response you get may overwhelm you positively, if it does not there may be somethings you want to adjust about who you are "being". If you are a natural leader and a positional leader, sometimes showing interest in developing the position leadership abilities can be scary. That doesn't mean you cut yourself off from your natural skill, decisiveness or ability. However, understanding how to keep up with positional trends, opportunities, global networks and things of this nature can create an overall better leadership skill and practice both naturally and by position.