recognizing everyday leadership


I’ve heard many undergraduate students refer to leadership as if it is a level of accomplishment that only certain individuals can achieve.  I think these types of conversations are a setback because it means we (student affairs professionals, among others) are failing to show 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 acts of leadership that are occurring every day?  Why don’t we recognize those as often?

Everyday Leadership

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.

“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.

So What? // 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 is powerful stuff!!

Now What? // Many individuals already take a few minutes  to reflect on all the happenings of each day.  If we take an extra minute to actually recognize the individuals that made our lives better on a daily basis, we can help individuals better understand their own capabilities.  Not to mention it feels great to give a heartfelt compliment.

If we help individuals recognize their own capabilities then these individuals are more likely to find the courage to act as leaders.  This alone could change the way we view and define the concept of leadership.

Who are you going to recognize today?

xo vm


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