Too many of us think that leaders are born, not made. We presume that leadership is an innate skill that we either have, or we do not. The reality is that leadership skills can be successfully taught, and learned. More importantly, good leadership gets demonstrated in a variety of contexts, by people of all levels and from all walks of life. Leadership isn’t necessarily the product of conscious intention; it shows up because it is needed. Above all, though, leadership is a performance; it involves embracing the behaviours and performing the roles that are essential in the moment, in response to the situation, to attain the outcomes that are required.
At the start of the pandemic, all of us wanted a reset button. The desire was enormous to go back to the way things were. That idea was a non-starter then, and nothing has changed about it. For many of us, what we have experienced since has felt less like a reset button than a pause button. The world has suspended itself in a repeating cycle of lockdowns, cautious reopening and questions about when the next normal might assert itself. We may be getting close, finally. As we do, a different reset button is presenting itself. It is an open question about whether you will push it or not.
There are a lot of hard-wired presumptions about what constitutes good presentation. There are a lot of conflicts that get created when we feel pressured to “act different, speak different or be different.” Being a speaker is one of the roles that we play in life. We have a lot of other roles, as well. And in each role, we choose how to perform, whether we make our own choices or accept the scripts of others.
All too often, we just show up in our work. We do what’s required, we fall back on old patterns, and we replicate what has worked for us in the past. That’s not bad, per se. Evolution wired us to do that, after all. At the same time, it’s not all that meaningful. And it very often doesn’t reconcile with what we know we’re truly capable of.