Licensed To Lead - A New Perspective

I love James Bond movies. I love the tough way in which this secret agent character confronts danger, boldly embraces his swagger and deploys his cool gadgets.

In one of the movies, License to Kill, James Bond went rogue — giving himself carte blanche authority to use his know how on a specific mission.

He broke away from his boss, M16, to avenge the death of a friend’s wife perpetrated by a drug lord on their wedding day.

Equipped with his secret agent insights and tools, James Bond made some decisions on what he thought was right for the situation. Not to endorse the vengeance part of Bond’s actions in this movie, but I do see a connection to my favorite perspectives: Everyone’s a leader.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
~ John Quincy Adams

A few of my clients engage me to teach workshops on leadership skills for non-supervisors. The goal is to encourage those at any level of an organization to see that wherever they are, there’s an opportunity to jump in and lead, to give yourself license.

How does one get there? How does someone develop their own lens or know how along the way? Key to this shift is to be on a mission of perspective. Many I encounter in my leadership sessions still think this work is too hard, or feel that they don’t know enough about this concept. The truth is leadership can be a very rewarding experience, and the benefits to taking charge effectively are enormous.

For one, we learn to handle our professional and personal concerns while helping others simultaneously. Leadership facilitates an increased self-esteem and feelings of personal power to affect a desired outcome of a situation or task. Some might wonder if it is okay to be somewhat fearful of such a lofty, hefty, overwhelming responsibility. Of course it’s okay, and it’s very normal.

The goal is not to get stuck in that fear but to take action. In doing so, we come to establish a base of internal and external resources that will support us in times of challenge, our own M16. And many problems we experience, whether individually, organizationally, or community, are best addressed at the lowest level. Therefore, the onward onus is on each of us to lead.

Keep in mind that leadership, just like life, is a many-layered thing, encompassing several sub roles that we navigate in our daily pursuits. Clarity on those sub roles, as we honor these assignments, is essential, in order to shift perspective on leadership. It’s definitely valuable to carve out the time to think through. Because leadership skills can show up in many forms and be based in several venues where we perform with authority. A sum of these might look like this:

  • Parent: Business Owner/Entrepreneur
  • Oldest Child: Pastor
  • Student: Teacher
  • Athletic Captain: Coach
  • Team Lead: Soldier
  • Supervisor: Subject Matter Expert
  • Manager: Committee Chair

We have a mission in one or more of these roles to use our unique know how. Dreaming, setting goals and inspiring ourselves or others are critical actions in many of them. There’s a life production required here that becomes purposeful, bringing new meaning to all we are and do. We hold this license which strengthens our authority to go rogue for leadership.

Parts of this article were excerpted from my book, Hardcore Leadership

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