10 Characteristics of the Everyday Leader That Are Found In All of Us

Where do you need to show up and lead in your everyday life?

The concept of leadership is often thought of as the leader you see in the front of a room; at the head of a company; as the president of a country…. These are the leaders who take on big roles in our world and visibly have many, many “followers.”

They are the ones who many people often look up to, who make decisions, implement change and build new ventures.

But what about the Every Day Leader?

What about the leader who exists in each one of us?

I’m talking about the leader who we are each called to be in our everyday lives.

This leader still needs to be capable of making difficult decisions, of implementing change, and of charting new territory. However, the impact of the Everyday Leader is usually less visible than the leaders we see at the front of the room and at the heads of companies.

This is the leader who organizes getting the kids to school on time, everyday. This is the leader who wants to make a career change and has to buck the odds to make a shift that is meaningful to her. This is the leader who needs to stand his ground in a sea of differing opinions.

We have to be leaders in our own lives, EVERY DAY.

It’s just up to us how much we want to show up.

We all have to be leaders in our own lives; how much do you want to show up?Click To Tweet

What does it take to be an Everyday Leader?

I’ve been thinking about this for some time – the concept of the Everyday Leader. So often, every day, in fact – we are called upon to be leaders in our everyday lives.

We need to dig deep to make important choices, thoughtful decisions, and have difficult conversations.

We need to make decisions about where we live, what house we buy, what school our children should go to and how to care for our aging parents.  We need to decide if this job is right for us anymore – if our partners are still who we want to be with – if we are really doing what we’ve always seen ourselves to be doing.  These are the leadership decisions of our everyday lives.

What are the qualities we need to be an Everyday Leader?

I recently saw an article that listed 100 qualities of leadership. One hundred?! I figure this means that we are pretty wide open when it comes to what it takes to be a leader. The definition is up to us.

Here are the Top 10 Characteristics that I call upon as I Lead in my Everyday Life:

  1. CourageWhen and where do you need courage to make the right decision? To have that difficult conversation? To initiate the unpopular choice?

    We do this in the boardrooms of our lives – in our living rooms; around the kitchen table, and in the car on the way to school. It’s not just the traditionally defined leader that needs to call upon their courage to do what is right.

    Where have you been courageous lately?

  2. ConvictionThis is the part where we pick our battles, isn’t it? We are confident in our choice to stand our ground and make that decision that might not be in the best interest of everyone – but it is in the best interest of our family.

    This is not just the playing field of the high-powered CEO, we all must call upon our personal convictions to lead the lives we want to lead and to raise our children the way we feel is best – not how the neighbour down the street or your second cousin twice removed thinks you should – you get to make your choices for you. Everyday.

  3. PassionWhat are you passionate about? What gets you up in the morning? Think about the leaders who you know – the traditional and the non-traditional ones. What sets them apart?

    I bet they exhibit some level of passion in their lives. Something drives them that you can’t describe. It’s the ideas, the energy, the commitment to make something happen. They just keep going. They’re relentless. They have passion!

    And it’s enticing and exciting to be around these people. They are leaders in this area that they are passionate about. What about you?

  4. EmpathyThe leaders who I have been most impressed by in my career are the ones who are able to slow down and listen to different points of view. And — most importantly – upon listening they actually seem to hear and understand.

    They exhibit empathy and understanding for different points of view. They make you feel heard and that your opinion matters. They will take it into consideration and factor it into the decisions they make for the group. They are empathetic leaders.

    Where do you need to stop and listen and demonstrate more understanding? No problem is too small when raising children or needing to be there for an aging parent.

    These are the issues of our everyday lives that need us to show up, to be leaders, and empathize.

    Our everyday lives often need us to show up, to be leaders, and empathize.Click To Tweet
  5. FocusThis is an unwavering commitment to seeing a project through, no matter what.

    These people have conviction and passion – as mentioned above – but also FOCUS. They will continue working on this idea or project day after day after day. They are able to focus and not spend half their day on social media because something looked more interesting than their current project.

    They are able to make decisions, get it done, and keep on working.

  6. Keep CoolAre you able to keep your cool in trying situations? Or do you freak out when the going gets tough and you’re not sure what to do next? Are you able to take a step back and observe the situation, listen to what’s happening and make decisions from a non-frenetic place?

    These are the leaders others look up to: the ones who keep a level head when everyone else is losing theirs.

  7. Value-BasedAre you a principled leader? Do you lead from a place of values-based decision making? If not, what’s your anchor? What place are you making decisions from?

    This is often where we find our anchor as parents – the place where it really doesn’t matter what “Johnny’s” parents are doing. What matters is what feels right to YOU.

  8. StrategicIn my mind, a strategic leader is a thoughtful leader. You are thinking ahead – planning for those unforeseen circumstances – making sure you are ready for what might be thrown in the way.

    These are the leaders/parents/people who are able to keep going even when it seems things may not be going as planned. They are ready for what’s next, no matter what “next” is. Are you?

  9. EnergeticWho wants to work for Eeyore? I don’t. As cute as that blue friend of Winne the Pooh’s is, he doesn’t have very much energy. He just keeps plodding along. Eeyore is a follower, not a leader.

    What would make Eeyore a leader? He might have a little spring in his step – an idea or two up his sleeve (or paw)– a positive outlook that keeps him going. What’s the carrot in front of your nose that keeps you excited and energetically leading the way?

  10. InspiringWho do you look up to? Who do you think is inspiring because of the way they soldier on, or work with conviction, or motivate others? Who are you inspired by? We are all inspiring in some way – honest.

    Almost every one of us is “ahead” of someone else in some way. We are all like a giant train, moving each other along, one ahead of the other. What you did last year is motivating this year’s employee or neighbour.

    We don’t all have to be Ghandi or Mother Teresa or Barack Obama to be inspiring. Who inspires you?

    We don't all have to be Ghandi, Mother Teresa or Barack Obama to be inspiring. Who inspires you?Click To Tweet

So now I ask you: Where do you need to call on your Everyday Leader to make those difficult decisions? The ones that really matter?

And what is the burning, deep down desire that you are afraid to do anything about for whatever reason? (e.g. Life is too comfortable. You may make someone upset. People may think you’re crazy.)

What leadership quality do you need to call upon to take that next step?

I work with people who are called to be leaders in their everyday lives. Together, we will uncover what it is you are meant to be doing and chart a path to get there.

Working with me you will find the courage you need to make that change; quit that job; start that business; go on that trip; or publish that book (that you may already have almost finished!).

Where do you need a little encouragement to be the leader in your everyday life you know you are meant to be?

I’d love to hear! Contact me for a complimentary strategy session to get you started. Hey! What have you got to lose? Be a leader in your own life. You will never regret it.

Susan Elford

Personal Balance Equation Workbook ABOUT SUSAN ELFORD

Susan Elford is a PR Strategist & Leadership Coach who especially loves to work with people who want it all: a fulfilling career or business while living a balanced life. Susan helps her clients get real about their strengths and celebrate and promote them so they get more of what they want: success at work; success in business & success in life.

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