What Leading Looks Like

by Claytine Nisbett

Can anyone be a leader? The question is two-fold. Yes, everyone has the potential to be a leader, but not everyone has the qualities and opportunities to lead. Qualities must be developed, and opportunities must present themselves. If you research the topic you will find a great many definitions and perspective on leadership. However, most can agree that leaders have the ability to influence the actions of others. The term is often confused with management. Though one of the functions of management is leadership, not all managers have the qualities of a leader in that though managers delegate staff, they don’t always incite action or change. A manager that has the ability to lead is crucial in getting the staff to perform their duties, and to do so willingly.

The passion behind your work is going to move those around you towards action and change. Whether it be your team, your peers, your friends, or a group of strangers.

At Ujima Woman, Inspiring leadership is a part of our mission. We believe the best and most sustainable leadership strategies inspires and empowers others. In this information era, people can easily develop their own skills by taking online courses, reading articles or books, attending workshops, etc. Teams need more out of their leaders than simply professional development. Unless your ability to positively influence them is properly cultivated chances are a portion of them will not be interested in the work. They will have no heart felt investment in the betterment of the organization.

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There has been a shift in followership needs. People want leaders who adds value to their lives. They are looking for someone who has a level of authenticity. Why are you doing what you do? Are you passionate about the cause or just looking for a title? In his book, Start With Why, author Simon Sinek states, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. What you do simply proves what you believe.” This means, the passion behind your work is going to move those around you towards action and change. Whether it be your team, your peers, your friends, or a group of strangers. The ‘why’ appeals to the emotion of an individuals and as logical as we try to make things seem, especially when it comes to professionalism, people are moved by their emotions.

However, one can lead in a moment – influencing someone to make a significant decision within a short space of time. This can then cultivate an unofficial followership.

Inspiring and empowering people by your ‘why’ often takes leading by example. When others see something in you they like and are curious about they will begin to admire that quality. Hence, they are more apt to hold conversations with you, ask you questions and seek out advice. Through these interactions, they will find value and worth in what you do. As a result, it is likely they will make positive changes because of your influence. When you start to influence others to change, that is when true leadership starts. With this notion, Ujima Woman believes that despite someone’s title, with the ability to empower and inspire anyone can be a leader.

This brings us to opportunity. Leadership doesn’t mean you have to start a movement, manage a project or team, or run an organization. However, one can lead in a moment – influencing someone to make a significant decision within a short space of time. This can then cultivate an unofficial followership. An example of this can be found in a group of friends or workmates where the final decision usually rest on a particular person, deemed leader, of the group. However, in order for leadership opportunities to present themselves for someone who is not in a traditional leadership role, that individual must demonstrate a level of confidence or knowledge in a the area they are leading. Once you are deemed credible people can trust you and you can lead from where you are, despite your position. Whether that is from behind the secretarial desk, behind the cash register, among your peers, or yes, from a supervisory level. If you already see this potential in you, do not hesitate to confidently invest in others. Your leadership may be what your environment is lacking!


Claytine Nisbett is the Founder of Ujima Woman. She is an author and women’s rights advocate who has a vested interest in the empowerment of women. Connect with her on IG @claytine.nisbett.

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