Sunday, December 07, 2014

Tacos, and the True Meaning of Leadership

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On the way home today, I passed a digital sign in front of the Del Taco fast food joint down the street that read: "Are you a leader?"   I immediately thought to myself,  Everyone's always talking about leadership, about being a leader, but what about the content behind leadership?  Who do they think we should be leading, and what exactly does Del Taco want people to lead others in?  Besides, if everyone is leading and there's no one around to follow, "leadership" would lose its meaning, right?

For some reason the question stuck with me throughout the day.  Am I a leader?  
When we think of "leaders", often the first people who come to mind are global changemakers, leaders of huge movements, and we think of them as having a lot of power and perhaps controlling a lot of assets such as money, things, events, people's mindsets, etc.

I can recall this view of mega-scale leadership being reinforced during college. There were nationally renowned speakers, authors, and leaders constantly coming in to speak on our campus.  A lot of them were musicians-turned-philanthropists or turned-activists who decided they were going to change the world.   Don't get me wrong, they're fabulous people doing great things and are all very inspiring in their own right, but the flood of huge names and huge campaigns seemed to have a narrowing effect on my perception of leadership.

It wasn't until today, thanks to this Del Taco sign, that I straightened out my thinking about leadership. I'm going to share my not-very-official definition of leadership, the way I think of it in my head:   To me, leadership is saying "Hey guys, here's what I'm doing, here's where I'm going;  I think it's a worthy pursuit, wanna join?"

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