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Leadership: It’s Your Choice

By Rob Fisher, Madison Electric Products

Lots of people have leadership titles on their business cards; however, those people aren’t all leaders. Likewise, companies are full of talented people who technically aren’t charged with leading a team, yet they display leadership qualities every day.

How can that be? It’s simple: Effective leadership is more than a title. It’s a choice. Granted, it’s sometimes a difficult choice, but it’s a choice nonetheless.

Does choosing to lead really matter? Speaking from personal experience, the choice to demonstrate leadership opens new doors and creates opportunities for personal and professional growth. Let me explain why I’d encourage you, too, to accept the challenge and choose to lead.

Make a difference in peoples’ lives. 

As a leader, you have an opportunity to set the vision, guide people along a journey of growth, and help your colleagues accomplish greatness. Make sure your team feels connected to the bigger picture – an important piece of a larger group working toward something meaningful.

Have you ever been in around a co-worker who doubted his or her talents and value to the company? As a leader (whether it’s your “official” title or not), seize the opportunity to build confidence in that individual. You will make a significant difference in that person’s personal and professional life. Actually, it’s a win-win, benefiting the company as much as the individual. Employees who feel appreciated for being more than a cog in a machine will work harder and be more loyal.

Grow, personally and professionally.

Sometimes, it’s easier to follow than to lead. But, choosing to be a good leader is an enlightening experience. It requires a commitment to self-education and growth. After all, how can you effectively help your team grow if you, yourself, aren’t willing to constantly evaluate and learn? Self-assessment and continuing education can take many forms, such as attending conferences or association meetings, participating in webinars, or asking your team for feedback (and incorporating their input!). Additionally, technology has created new opportunities for low-cost learning. Subscribe to blogs about leadership, personal growth, business development or management – topics that pique your interest and align with areas you want to improve. Are you on Twitter? If so, you can participate in Twitter chats, weekly, moderated live discussions focused on a specific topic – such as customer service or leadership. These informal virtual gatherings offer an opportunity to connect with and learn from people all over the country.

Be challenged.

There’s a line from The American President where Michael Douglas, as President Andrew Shepard, explains, “We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them.” Granted, he was talking about running for the presidency; however, leadership isn’t easy – whether you’re the president, or running a small business. We all face challenges. The secret is accepting the challenge and drawing upon your experience, commitment and creativity to find workable solutions. Today’s business leaders are constantly facing new challenges – situations that require quick thinking and tough calls. It’s ok to admit that you don’t have all the answers. Sometimes you just have to follow your intuition and trust your instincts. Knowing that your decisions can impact the entire team and organization can be overwhelming. That’s why leadership isn’t for the faint of heart; however, it can be exhilarating, energizing and fulfilling. There is nothing quite like the excitement and personal sense of accomplishment that comes from formulating a strategy and leading a team to successful implementation.

Give back to your industry and/or company.

Hopefully, you’re being appropriately compensated for your work responsibilities, which affords you the opportunity to support your family, and maybe even make some philanthropic contributions to your church and/or favorite nonprofit(s). It’s equally important to be generous in your professional life. As a leader, take it upon yourself to mentor younger colleagues, lend your talents to help the industry thrive, and volunteer for internal committees. Even informally, be the person who remembers to get birthday cards for employees or says an extra thank-you to the support staff.

We need leaders like you.

Hopefully, by now you understand why leadership is important. Not everyone wants to be a leader – and that’s fine. But, the fact is, leadership matters. We need leaders, mentors and good people who can inspire us to do more than we thought was possible. If you have the courage, discipline, passion and vision, you can – and should – be that person. I encourage you to choose leadership. Will you accept the challenge?

As director of marketing for http://www.meproducts.net/”>Madison Electric Products, Rob Fisher oversees the development and implementation of the company’s visual identity, public relations, social media and marketing strategy. Leveraging a diverse, cross-industry background, Rob helped Madison break ground in the electrical industry by leveraging social media to crowdsource product development and position the company as innovative and forward-thinking. Connect with Rob via email (rfisher@meproducts.net) or on Twitter (http://twitter.com/rfisher1228″>twitter.com/rfisher1228twitter.com/meproducts).

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