By Kelly Carr
As we noted a few weeks ago, sometimes we don’t feel creative, yet we create all the time. Similarly, sometimes we don’t think we have leadership abilities, yet we lead by example all the time. That’s right—people are watching us, perhaps imitating us, even when we are not aware. They’re receiving messages depicted by our actions and words, gaining insights about our character. That’s leadership.
It’s something to be mindful of. Yet I forget all the time. For instance, I get impatient with my husband and realize later that my cross tone of voice was heard by others at the store. Or I fret too much about how I look before I leave the house without noticing that my daughter observed my behavior. It’s not that being occasionally frustrated or keeping up my appearance is the end of the world. But those little moments add up to a telling picture of what’s important to me and whether I let things get under my skin or let things go. I’m indicating what I value to my family, to my friends, to people I don’t even know.
The flip side is that hopefully all of us are doing good things that become positive models for others, even when we aren’t cognizant of it. I’ve noticed that my neighbor Amanda picks up trash as she walks her dog. She doesn’t make a big show of it; she just naturally cares about making the community nicer. I become aware that I could do the same. My friend Alicia offers to hold babies for moms or dads at church gatherings so that they can have uninterrupted adult conversation. It’s a small blessing, yet I learn from her actions.
It doesn’t take standing in front of a crowd to be a leader. It’s about moments when we step up to fill a need or make a choice full of integrity. As people of faith, demonstrating actions of faith is important leadership. Even if we never get a standing ovation for what we do, others notice and learn by our example.