Why Aren't You Leading?

My friend ran up to me while we were waiting to pick up our kids. “I’ve got this great idea and I know a lot of people are interested.” I listened. It was brilliant. I was ready to sign up to help. But next she shared, “Nobody’s asked me to start leading it, so why should I volunteer?” And then, “I keep hoping somebody else will step up and take the lead.” I couldn’t help but think that “somebody” was me.

Let me get this right. It’s a great idea. And you COULD do it. You WANT to do it. But you WON’T because no one has THOUGHT of asking you?

“Yeah, I’m just waiting. It would be a lot of work.”
“If you lead it, I will help you,” I offered.
She quickly changed the subject.

She was perfect for the leadership role. Her feelings were hurt, she wanted someone to invite her to lead. Not just someone. The right someone. She is still waiting. No one is leading. The effort is effortless.

“No One Asked Me”

Perhaps this is happening to you. You care deeply. Change must happen. They need you. You are qualified. You have big ideas.

  • “I’m not sure I’m ready.”
  • “I might fail”
  • “I’m scared”
  • “It’s too much work”
  • “I’m too busy”
  • “No one asked me.”

No one is going to ask you to lead.

  • It’s unlikely that the guys in the department down the hall are sitting around thinking of you for that special assignment
  • The folks at church see how much you already have on your plate and think you’re too busy
  • The PTA has no idea you have talent
  • You can see the obvious next step, what makes you sure it’s clear to others?

Leading or Losing

If you wait to be asked, it’s less likely you will have to do anything. If you don’t do it, you cannot fail. Try:

  • Starting small: offer to do the pilot, or one session
  • Co-leading: 2 heads are a great way to start
  • Submitting a proposal
  • Volunteering for a similar effort and take notes
  • ?
  • Or follow this twitter LEADER.

@LetsGrowLeaders I always was a follower but I feel with God’s help I can be a leader. Amen.

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Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells - building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.