A few weekends ago, I was out on an early morning walk. It was cold, but once the sun came up it wasn’t too bad.
I had decided to take a slightly different route to my usual one and ended up walking past a large church when I noticed a man standing next to a billboard that stood in the front garden. He had been taking all the letters down of an old message and had replaced them with a new one.
I hadn’t seen what the old sign said, but the new sign read, “Worship is calling. Are you ready to take the call?”.
A few minutes later, I thought to myself, imagine a sign that read, “Leadership is calling. Are you ready to take the lead?”. And that was the moment I decided I would ask the next 10 leaders booked in to have a coaching session with me, “What are you being called to in your leadership journey?”.
But before revealing their responses, let’s firstly unpack the concept of a ‘call to leadership’.
In a professional context, ultimately a call to leadership signifies a recognition of an individual’s potential to lead and make a meaningful difference to a team or a larger organisation. It is an invitation to embrace the responsibilities and opportunities that come with leading and to make a positive impact on those around them.
Moreover, a call to leadership implies a willingness to embrace challenges, make difficult decisions, and take risks when necessary. It involves setting a positive example fostering collaboration, and creating an environment that encourages personal growth and professional development.
If you have experienced a call to leadership, it would typically imply that someone has indicated that they see leadership qualities in you, and they believe you have the capacity to lead effectively. It could have been someone within your current organisation, or it may have been a teacher, university professor, family member, friend, or colleague.
Whatever the calling, you then also believed that you could make a difference and inspire others towards a shared vision.
Over the course of the two weeks that followed my morning walk past the church, I made a conscious effort to start at least 10 coaching sessions by asking the leader sitting opposite me (either in-person or remotely), ‘What are you being called to in your leadership journey?’.
After all, whether you’re at the beginning or in the middle of your own leadership journey, it’s important to reflect on the nature of your own call to leadership and the aspirations that drive you.
These were the seven main themes coming out of their responses that I thought might help guide any new to mid-level leaders better appreciate their own call to leadership.
As a leader, are you being called to inspire and motivate your team members to help them reach their full potential in a job they love? By fostering a culture of growth and providing opportunities for development, you can create an environment that encourages excellence and cultivates talent. Remember that inspiration can come from leading by example, recognising and appreciating the efforts of others, and empowering them to take ownership of their work.
Remember your actions as a leader can shape the lives of individuals or entire organisations. Do you aspire to drive change or to seek opportunities to help those around you develop professionally, and above all to leave a legacy that brings about positive transformation? By empowering others, nurturing talent, and creating a positive impact, you can leave behind a legacy that inspires future generations of leaders.
Do you encourage your team members to think outside the box, embrace new ideas, and approach challenges with fresh perspectives? By creating an environment that supports experimentation and risk-taking, you can unlock the full potential of your team members and drive innovation across the organisation. Once upon a time, ‘innovation’ was viewed as ‘insubordination’. As a leader today, it’s important to stay open to diverse viewpoints, and be willing to adapt and evolve in the face of change.
As you progress along your own leadership journey, are you ready to embrace the role of coach? Try to take the time to understand the aspirations and challenges of your individual team members and provide them with the necessary tools and resources to help them excel. By investing in the development of others, you not only enhance their skills and capabilities, but you will also foster a culture of continuous learning.
Throughout your leadership journey, stay curious, embrace new knowledge and experiences, and remain open to feedback and self-improvement. Always seek opportunities for professional development, both within and outside your field of expertise. By investing in your own growth, you can enhance your leadership capabilities and stay ahead in this rapidly changing world.
One of your main responsibilities as a leader is to recognise that diversity is a strength and to create teams that are collaborative, cohesive, and high performing. By encouraging transparent communication and open dialogue, and leveraging the unique strengths of individual team members, you can enhance productivity, creativity, and overall organisational success.
Do you set a positive example and promote ethical behaviour within your team? As a leader, remember how important it is to make principled decisions, uphold moral values, and prioritise the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of your team members. By cultivating an ethical and responsible leadership style, you can foster a culture of trust and credibility.
Leadership is calling. Are you ready to take the lead?
By responding to your own call to leadership, you can also inspire others to unlock their leadership potential. Remember, leadership is not just a position – it is a profound calling to positively impact the lives of others and shape the team around you.
Remember, hellomonday can provide support to every leader, reinforcing habits through curated learning and impactful coaching, helping leaders reflect on the nature of their own call to leadership and the aspirations that drive them.