Are You Looking for Leadership in all the Wrong Places? by @Kaity_FL

Guest post by Kaity Nakagoshi (!/Kaity_FL)

In order to be a great leader, you need to know how to spot talent at the blink of an eye, so that you can utilize the people around you to the greatest effect. In these difficult times when revenues are down, getting creative is a necessity. Though many people will make a point of demonstrating their skills and desire for promotion, some of those with a natural talent for effective leadership may be found in unlikely places. Don’t limit yourself by seeking out leadership in those with predetermined management experience or qualifications. Instead, take advantage of every life situation. Opening your eyes and mind may lead to surprising findings. Keeping these four “B’s” in mind during your leadership adventures can help you stay on track – Be Connected, Be Creative, Be Inspired, and last but not least, don’t to forget to Be a Leader.

Be Connected

Within your own company, you need to be present to notice the prospective leader who is not jockeying for position. Be sure to spend some time on the floor or visit team meetings. Carefully observe how each person works and interacts. Perhaps there is an individual in one section or on one team who has a way of naturally causing others to do better work or to work more efficiently together. Dig a little deeper and maybe you find that this same person has been involved in most (or all) of the successful choices made within that same department. You have found yourself a leader.

Be Creative

Though some people see a separation between the creative arts and business, many artistic endeavors require large amounts of discipline and perseverance.  If you enjoy a football game, observe the marching band to see a great model of teamwork, discipline and efficiency. A worthy marching band leader is able to inspire the band members to get out and practice in tough weather while learning and maintaining precise line formations, not to mention performing musically at the same time. Be aware of those around you who create inspiring moments. They have the same traits you can find within your company’s personnel.

Be Inspired

Sometimes those who have truly suffered can inspire us with their passion for leadership. Born into a socially stigmatized position in a leper colony in Ethiopia, the story of a young man named Yemamu is truly inspring. Yemamu and his friend Sisay supported their families by rummaging through garbage dumps. They would scavenge for materials such as metal and plastic that they could trade for even just a little bit of money. Eventually, someone sponsored the boys, which allowed them the opportunity to go to school. Yemamu later created an NGO (non-government organization), and through his work, other people who suffered from poverty and/or social stigma gained jobs, which allowed them to support themselves and their families. The biggest obstacle that Yemamu overcame during his leadership role was the ability to inspire those with little or no hope. He shows genuine concern for others, and encourages them along the way. Essentially, Yemamu responded to his circumstances, a life of poverty unimaginable by western standards, by improving the lives of others.  True leadership requires passion, and passion may arrive through suffering. To learn more about more about Yemamu and his ability to influence others, please visit The Leadership Challenge.

Be a Leader

Remember that being a great leader means recognizing the merit of others. One of your key tasks is to spot talent and nurture it. Be sure to participate in company events and observe those who may have an exceptional combination of creativity and discipline. Also, don’t forget to find noteworthy leaders as you live your everyday life. An exceptional waiter at a restaurant, your passionate tennis lesson teacher, a neighbor who enjoys throwing get-togethers for your street—all of these people may demonstrate leadership qualities which can improve your own outlook. As you become alert to excellence in unlikely places, you will develop an eagle’s eye for the raw talent within your reach.

This article was submitted by the University of Notre Dame in partnership with the University Alliance. The University of Notre Dame provides all the necessary tools and resources to gain an executive certificate in leadership and management online.  To see additional information please visit



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