Can you be brutally honest with yourself right now and ask if you know what leadership is? What does it truly mean to you? What is the purpose of Leadership? Don’t be surprised if yours is different from mine because as I write this there are approximately 7.5+ billion possible variations of what leadership is and means. Many people not only struggle with what leadership means and is to them, if polled on the street, they’d say: “I’m not a leader.” To that, I say: “Bull-Feathers”!
Many believe it’s something around being the biggest, brightest or making a ’planet-sized’ difference. They dismiss leadership as belonging to some one running a business, government, or multi-national organization. They look beyond the something they did that another may have (or not) witnessed about making a significant difference to someone’s life in a single moment. Stopping to open a door, carry a bag of groceries, letting someone in front of you in traffic, or giving up a seat on the bus for someone obviously in need. If you asked them, they’d probably be a bit embarrassed or say it wasn’t leadership, it was just something I do. Well, ’that’s a true example of leadership!’
Leadership in it’s truest form is about joy and sharing that joy that’s offered to someone else because it comes from a purpose inside you. It’s shared because it makes a difference in the moment and is contagious to others who witness it.
In Finland, we have an expression “Karkkipäivä”, or “candy day”. It makes someone smile, or puts a bounce in their step because they’re getting a treat… and in a leadership sense just by doing that “spontaneous-in-the-now,” “without-looking-for-anything-in-return-just-because” moment.
This kind of leadership is an example for heads of organizations, it’s for everyone, kids on up to adults to experience and participate in. At its core, this is an overt sign that this person, right there in that moment matters, to you and someone else too. In organizations aspiring to quantum performance, it can go viral. Think of it for a moment. On a small scale, if you did one small unselfish thing for someone else every day, expecting nothing in return, what might happen? Now consider – What would happen in the world if each of us did one small leadership practice like this every day?
Jim Grant is a leadership and executive coach living in Helsinki, Finland. Interested in exploring ’karkkipäivä-moments’ in your life or company? Give him a call @ +358 40 178 1030 or e-mail @ firstname.lastname@example.org