Everybody has the capacity for leadership. I know that’s not a trendy thing to write, but there isn’t much art or science in leading people or an organization.

Some people choose to lead, and some don’t. It’s a decision, not a triumphant act of courage.

Those who say yes are often given an unfortunate path where they can “improve their skills” and polish their presentation styles. Those courses benefit consultants who run those sessions, not the individual leaders. Potential leaders are fed inspirational quotes, and they’re taught to be servants and parental figures who can save you from yourself because you’re too stupid to lead. That’s why you’re not in that class.

The ones who opt-out of leadership are lumped into the masses of “those who need to be motivated.” They’re assigned a leader, who probably has a leader, who definitely has a leader, who reports to an even bigger leader who wants to be the supreme leader.

That’s how the great multi-level marketing pyramid of leadership works. Just when you think you’re at the top, the organization is restructured. It’s fifteen more years until you become “the guy.” And not even then.

Leadership in 2017 is all about being the guy who wants to be the guy who ascends the throne. Except you have to do it humbly, of course. Pretend that you care more about the masses while still enforcing the chain of command decision-making formalities within the enterprise.

But what if you think differently? What if you believe that everybody has the capacity for leadership? What if you believe Maya Angelou was right and that life is like this:

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

Swap out leadership for adulthood in any article on Forbes, and you’ll see that it’s all about accountability. Do the best you can, keep learning, do better. The goal isn’t to change someone’s life. The result is that you change your life, and, in the process, make things better for other people.

When leadership becomes vaunted and fetishized, it becomes dangerous. When only a few hear the calling and put on the uniform, and when even fewer wear the crown, the implied message is that leadership probably isn’t for you.

But you can lead a team, a division, a company, or even a new organization. You are capable of great accomplishments, and you have the ability to do new things. Everybody has the capacity for leadership.

The first step? Leading yourself.

One Response to Everybody Has the Capacity for Leadership
  1. Keith

    “The goal isn’t to change someone’s life. The result is that you change your life, and, in the process, make things better for other people.”

    Concise and so true. And a worthy volte-face on a recent previous post?


    It’s great that you can change your mind. Shows you’ve got one to change….