Do you wish you were the CEO?

How many times have you said, “If I were the boss…?”

Do you have ideas to improve, but no one seems to listen?

You don’t need to wait or ever become the CEO.

Everyone is a leader. You can start leading today. No matter where you sit in the organization, you have an influence on others.

Some of us are leaders because we hold the top position in the organization. Others are leaders because they have the capacity to draw people to them.

We can influence positively through our expertise or by our ability to have empathy and compassion. Influence can also breed contempt and apathy.

Many of us have a keen sense of what others need. We coach or mentor our colleagues.

Great workplaces only come about when we have positive influential leaders at every level. No matter what you do, you have the potential—and the power—to lead, You don’t need to wait.

Three things you can do today . . .

1. Create clarity

Help others understand “why.” Why is this decision important? How does it relate to what we do? Connect the dots. Think about how you feel when you are asked to do something that doesn’t make sense to you.

2. Remove the barriers, no matter how small

Sometimes, it’s the smallest thing that trip us up. We see walls where none exist because that’s how it was always done. Ask more questions. Can we call the customer direct to verify payment? Why wait or wonder, if you go directly to the customer?

3. Give us a picture of the future worth our efforts and commitment

You’ve heard the statement, “What’s in it for me?” Tell me, or show me how meeting once a week with marketing is worth our time. What will we gain by taking time to go to training? We all need and want to see how, especially change, will really make our lives better.

“Real leadership is not about authority, control, or giving orders. It’s not about titles or executive benefits.

Leadership is about taking the initiative to do a job in a more efficient way or a better way, treating others with respect and compassion, and thinking of ways to be helpful.

A leader is someone who is confident of her or his abilities and freely expresses that confidence—not in arrogance, but in humility.”

Sister Mary Jane Ryan in On Becoming Exceptional

We need leaders when the going gets tough and the challenges become so burdensome that we can’t move forward.

When we wait for others to lead, we all get stuck repeating what we do and expecting something different to occur. Frustration rises. Morale declines.

Become the leader you are meant to be. We need you.

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.