We've all seen great examples of being a leader.
Leaders are all around us.
They're there in-person or online, in school, at work, in your community, or even in your household.
One of my favorite elements of leadership is that anyone can be a leader.
The description isn't dependent upon having a certain title or being a specific age, gender, race, economic class, or other variable.
If I were to ask you who comes to mind when you think of leaders that have influenced your life, thoughts, actions, or beliefs, you might respond with the names of one or several people.
We've even made it easy for you to thank them on our Thank You for Your Leadership page.
As technology and social media continue to make the world more interconnected, you don't have to look far to find inspiring leaders.
Here are a few examples of some of my favorites, ones that I've studied and return to often as reminders of aspects of leadership that I aspire to model in my own personal and professional interactions.
I've long been a fan of Coach Pat Summitt, famous for her championing of Tennessee's basketball team, yet whose greatest impact, I believe, will be multi-generational in her influence on those who continue to share her teaching.
In this video, Pat creates a sense of urgency, encourages an inclusive environment in calling for perspective from players and coaches, and crafts the vision for success with everyone in the room.
I don't know that Coach Summitt ever studied Kotter's Model for Change, though so many of the elements that make up that framework are present here.
Sadly, Pat's valiant battle with Alzheimer's disease has concluded, yet The Pat Summitt Foundation continues on its mission, providing grants to non-profit organizations, advancing research for treatments and a cure.
I love seeing Pat Summitt's influence passed down as her former players become coaches, bringing their unique skills and talents to leadership.
Such is the case with Kara Lawson, current Coach of Duke's basketball team, and former Assistant Coach with my hometown Celtics. ☘️
This video reminds me of 1:1s between employees and their managers, though with a little less focus on quotas.
Here, Coach Lawson's approach could be said to draw from situational leadership theory, where leadership style is selected based on the follower's maturity, the combination of their ability and willingness to complete an objective, to fit what this particular player needs, given the task at hand.
Other players, or employees, may not need the same communication, given their unique willingness and ability to approach a task or goal.
If you watched Super Bowl LVI between the LA Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals, you may have seen lots of examples of great leadership.
One stood out to me more prominently than many others.
As the Rams were preparing to exit the tunnel, and run onto the field, Matthew Stafford, the quarterback, did something I thought was special.
Rather than remaining at the front of the pack, he stopped, turned, and appeared to acknowledge each teammate as they made their entrance before he did.
The cameras turned early, so I can't confirm whether he waited for every last teammate.
But, no matter, what a way to embody a sense of us in the moments before the biggest game of the year.
What If Quarterbacks Don't Do This?
What Stafford did is commendable, though as is the case with many things, it isn't the only way to get the job done.
There's plenty, in football, at work, and in any environment that occurs behind-the-scenes, and that can have similar, or possibly greater, impact.
No matter what your style, authentic leadership and being genuine in your words and actions will be key to garnering the support needed for progress.
Fransen et al. (2015) suggest that confidence can be transferred from a leader to group members through actions and behaviors that enhance identification as a member of a group.
You may have experienced varying levels of commitment to teams, or groups, that you've been a part of.
Those differences, in what some might describe as loyalty, can be attributed, in part, to your sense of a shared social identity with the group.
If you're answering "yes," to the following questions, you might have higher levels of shared identity with a particular group.
Given these examples of being a leader, and as easy as some people might make it look, leadership is a learned skill. That means you can begin, or improve, no matter your current state.
I'm passionate about developing leaders, so that they aren't strictly individual contributors or managers, yet create meaningful impact for their team members, increase their own career opportunities, and leave an impression that continues after they've moved to promotion or new pursuits.
This section of the site is an excellent foundation for developing leadership skills, understanding different types of leadership, and exploring leadership styles.
To continue your learning:
David Bohmiller, MBA, MS (he/him/his)
Founder, CEO and Consulting Executive
Have you had great leaders in your life? Or, examples of great leadership that come to mind? Use the form below to share your stories and examples of being a leader.
P.S. - Would you rather write a thank you note to a leader in your life? You can! Visit our Thank You For Your Leadership page.
Fransen, K., Haslam, S. A., Steffens, N. K., Vanbeselaere, N., De Cuyper, B., & Boen, F. (2015). Believing in "Us": Exploring Leaders' Capacity to Enhance Team Confidence and Performance by Building a Sense of Shared Social Identity. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Applied, 21(1), 89-100. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1037/xap0000033