Back in my college days, I was introduced to Peter F. Drucker and his work on leadership, management, labor and economics. One of his famous quotes has stuck with me: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” At first glance, that statement seems obvious. But what are those “right things?” What makes a good leader?
Search Google for that phrase and you’ll find 1.25 billion answers to start with. Rather than add my voice to the cacophony suggesting how you should be a good leader, I’d like to offer a few places where you can lend your leadership skills.
It goes (nearly) without saying that the first and best place to be a leader is within your family home. Day-to-day life presents unending opportunities to lead by example and do the right thing, from the mundane to the spiritual. While I’ll leave the latter to you and your higher power, I will observe that leadership is exemplified by picking up your dirty socks, even if — especially when — you don’t feel like it.
The second place where you can lend your leadership skills is within your community. For some, the phrase “community service” connotes thoughts of enforced labor to be endured. While certainly, for some — those compelled to be there by court order, for instance — community service is onerous, it need not be. Think of your favorite pastime. Nearly every sport or hobby provides opportunities to serve the larger community of those who share your interest. And though more organized events such youth sports are always seeking help, less formal arrangements need leadership as well. Love to play an instrument? Find places to play with others. Lead the group in a song or show that special lick you’ve learned. Love take photos while hiking? Share your most beautiful shots in your Facebook feed. Bring the beauty you appreciate firsthand to others and show them different ways and places to experience the world’s beauty.
And of course, you likely do lend your leadership skills in the workplace. Whether that means you lead a team, a division or the company, or you serve the important role of team member meeting objectives without objection, the workplace is a good space to develop and demonstrate leadership. Aside from your office or team, opportunities exist within trade organizations such as the Cooling Technology Institute, International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration or the Association of Water Technologies. Outreach into these organizations, and others like it, provides a professional and social forum where you can develop and display leadership.