Leadership is contagious.
We do not become leaders by reading about leadership. We do not become leaders by thinking about it. We catch leadership from other people.
The seeds of our own understanding of leadership are planted in us by people sharing leadership with us. The ways we recognize and appreciate leadership grow in us, shaped by the leaders we meet.
I adapt the leadership they share to create my own strain, and then spread it to others.
Leadership is caught, not taught.
I can look back in gratitude and see the carriers who have infected me with various strains of leadership that have become full-blown leadership. I can also look forward in anticipation of the people who will contribute to how my leadership will continue to develop in the future.
Some people have spread the contagion to me in a focused, intentional way. Others have infected me without even knowing it.
Some have helped me develop antibodies and avoid qualities that would be harmful to my particular version of leadership.
Leadership is viral.
One fascinating thing about leadership is that I do not even need to come into direct contact with the people who contribute to my understanding. I can catch leadership from people I have never even met.
I can read books they have written, and books written about them. I can listen to what they have said, or watch them saying it. The germ of their leadership spreads to me through the words on a page, and the words they say.
I have access to leaders around the world. We have regular conversations online, which spread the leadership contagion and strengthen our own strains.
Everyone can get infected; everyone can be a leader.
How has your leadership been caught from other leaders?
How are you developing your own strain of leadership?
[Image by euthman]