I’ve recently overheard several undergraduate students refer to leadership as if it is a level of accomplishment only certain individuals can achieve. The conversations implied these students maintain the notion that leadership is about having a title or a special role as opposed to having the skills it takes to make a positive impact. These types of conversations are a setback because it means we (student affairs professionals, among others) are failing to teach our students that leadership comes in a variety of forms, not just by being on an executive board or getting involved in campus activities. What about the simple, smaller displays of leadership skills that occur on a daily basis?
In his Everyday Leadership TedTalk, Drew Dudley defines everyday leadership in terms of “lollipop moments,” moments in which someone said or did something that fundamentally made your life better. Often, individuals are not recognized for their lollipop moments because the moments are so small and fleeting it is difficult to know their level of impact until after further reflection. How sad is that?!
“We let people who have made our lives better walk around without knowing it.”
Dudley goes on to discuss how changing one person’s understanding of what they are capable of can change the way we view leadership as a whole. Leadership is not about the big actions, it is about the small steps that move us forward. If you agree with Dudley, then you agree recognizing simple acts of everyday leadership can completely change how we are framing the concept of leadership to our students. This concept of leadership moves beyond notions of positional leadership toward an empowered personal journey. This is powerful stuff!!
In my current work as the Assistant Director of Student Involvement and Leadership, I advise an organization called LEAD Team, which aims to help students develop their leadership skills, foster a passion for co-curricular involvement, and discover their leadership style. LEAD Team has recently started a campaign in which they walk around campus asking faculty, staff, and peers to define what leadership means to them. These responses, which define leadership from an incredible array of perspectives, are shared via our Facebook page about once a week. The posts are inspiring our community to reflect on their own notions of everyday leadership and *bonus* they have performed better than 90% of the other posts from our page!
Reflection is key to making meaning of your experiences. Many individuals already take a few minutes to reflect on daily happenings in an effort to stay mindful, focused, and aware. If we all take an additional minute to actually recognize the individuals that made our lives better on a daily basis, we could help individuals better understand their own capabilities. Not to mention it feels great to give a heartfelt compliment! Helping individuals recognize their own capabilities will, in turn, inspired them to continue espousing everyday leadership. This movement alone could change the way we view and define the concept of leadership. For this reason, it is important to recognize those who fundamentally improve our lives.
Whose lollipop moments are you going to recognize today?
Originally Published At Milagros Moments