It has become increasingly clear to me that for any of us to maximize our effectiveness as a coach, leader, or educator, we need to change our mindset to focus on the needs of those we lead. As John C. Maxwell, a nationally recognized author on leadership, points out, “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” Changing our focus away from ourselves and towards others simplifies the challenge of leadership.
Drew Dudley’s 2010 TEDx Talk in Toronto highlighted the capacity that every person has to be a leader, and influence and change someone else’s life. He introduced me to the concept of the “lollipop moment,” that showed the power of changing focus to others. We have all experienced a “lollipop” where someone said something or did something that fundamentally made our life better. Dudley tells a story about his “lollipop moment” and goes on to say that “every single one of you has been the catalyst for a lollipop moment. You have made someone’s life better by something that you said or that you did . . . it is so scary to think of ourselves as that powerful. It can be frightening to think that we can matter that much to other people, because as long as we make leadership something bigger than us, as long as we keep leadership something beyond us, as long as we make it about changing the world, we give ourselves an excuse not to expect it every day from ourselves and from each other.” (http://www.ted.com/talks/drew_dudley_everyday_leadership/transcript?language=en)
The essence of the “lollipop moment” is that we all have the ability to influence others, to be a leader. In some way, shape, or form, we can have a huge impact on others. We need to change our focus from ourselves to others. Throughout my leadership journey, I have increasingly spent time reflecting on the leadership landscape, the experiences I have had with a range of leaders, and my own trials and tribulations as a leader, teacher, and coach. These reflections have led me to the conclusion that to change the leadership landscape, it cannot be about us, as leaders. It needs to be about who we lead, teach, and coach. It needs to be about them! This change of focus helps reduce the complexity of leadership.