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  • Writer's picturejonwilson3

We Are ALL Leaders

We are all leaders. At least that is the premise of the Co-Active Leadership model that I have been trained in over the last 10 months.

What’s does that mean to you?

At a high level I take it to mean we can all choose to engage in life - to be active, positive and supportive in whatever we are up to. Or we can disengage, sit on the sidelines, criticise and blame the situations and events of our lives. Either way, we have an impact.

It’s easy to fall into thinking of leadership in organisational and work terms. So as you read this, think about all areas of your life - your family, your friends, your hobbies and pastimes, organisations you are involved in outside of work, and even daily interactions with strangers.

Specifically there are 5 elements to this model.

Leader Within

Who are you? What do you value? What do you want? What impact do you want to have in the world?

Get clear on these questions and your ability to lead (and, frankly, live a fulfilled life) becomes a whole lot easier. You will have a “North Star” to guide you in creative rather than reactive ways.

Leader In-Front

The “classic” leader. But not an authoritarian. Not someone who barks orders and commands your obedience through fear. The Leader In-Front says “this is what I believe in, this is my vision, who’s in?”. They set a direction and inspire you to come along. They believe in you. They are not afraid to take determined, focussed action, including telling the hard truths. They come from a place of integrity and purpose.

Leader Behind

With an inspiring leader in-front, we are drawn to be Leaders from Behind. We support, encourage and champion the Leader In-Front. We recognise their struggles just as they recognise ours. We are clear that the team, family or organisation succeeds when we all play our part.

Leader Beside

We all have peers that we “co-lead” with. Be it a romantic partner, a business partner, a team mate, a friend or colleague. As a Leader Beside, I’ve got your back and I trust that you have mine. We bring the best out in each other.

Leader in the Field

Ever had that feeling of walking into a room and no one is saying anything but you just know there has been an argument? You’re picking up on “the field”. Or call it intuition, or gut feel.

We are well trained to dismiss this and yet if you ask successful leaders how they make decisions they will often tell you it just feels right, or they have a gut feel it’s the right thing to do.

We can tune into “the field” in terms of what’s needed for ourselves, in our immediate relationships, in our organisations and in the world, and trust what comes up. Some very interesting experiments have been done that show the truth in this - it’s not woo woo hippy dippy shit!

Becoming a Leader

All of these leadership roles are a choice. We can choose to step into them all areas of our life: our home life and our work life, and in all our interactions with people on a daily basis.

One last thought. The cheery shop assistant is a leader - they are leading from their personal values of friendliness and service. And when you choose to thank them for a their cheery smile, you’re being a leader too.

Where will you step more fully into one of these roles in your life? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


This article is part of 100 Days of Creation, my challenge to myself to write 100 articles in 140 days, each taking no longer than 30 minutes to write and publish.

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