Look how far the ripples go!

Whenever you start a conversation about leadership people generally cast their mind to people who head up large organisations. I’ve been working in leadership development in schools for more than twenty years and people immediately think about headteachers when the conversation turns to ‘leadership’. But if you ask people about recent changes for the better; change that has made a difference to their clients, customers or students you get a different story.

Leadership is all about moving things forward, innovating and making positive change and people at all levels of organisations do this, everyday – sometimes in quite small ways, but sometimes to significant effect.

I’ve worked with several schools where pupils have taken the lead on reducing waste and energy use. Following just one lesson, classmates at one school I know began by reducing the amount of paper that was being chucked away. This developed into a group of Eco Warriors that persuaded classes across the school to join in. Next came a group of Power Rangers who began by turning lights off and thermostats down and ended up by persuading the staff to create a school policy for sustainability and fund-raising with parents to purchase solar panels. A brilliant example of real ‘bottom up’ leadership.

Leaders exist throughout our workplaces and communities. Leadership is something we share – ceding power to those we wish to follow, taking responsibility for the causes we believe in and resisting those whose purposes we are not persuaded by. The most dynamic organisations and communities recognise this and find ways to enable and empower the people who care about issues that concern us all – people with passion, awareness and the will to take responsibility for making a real difference to our customers, students and fellow citizens.

Where are the leaders in your circle, in your organisation or your community? And where is your passion?