Column Spotlight: Business Insight - Debbie Lawrence

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TOPIC - True leadership is a mindset

Debbie Lawrence - Business Insight

(Originally published in the August 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal)

While enjoying time at the cottage this summer I brought along a stack of reading including Robin Sharma’s “The Leader Who Had No Title”. This parable brings to light the simple reality that regardless of what you do, your role in your company, and the current circumstances of your life, everyone has the power to lead.

Having delivered a series of leadership programs this year, I see the importance of formal leaders modeling leadership in every aspect of what they do. Equally as important is the need for individuals at every level of an organization and in every role to be leaders.

Frontline employees tend to defer matters of leadership to more senior people in their company. That is not my role I hear them say or My job title does not expect me to lead. True leadership is a mindset. It is not formally given but a way of being. It is about consistently making conscious choices to show up and act as a leader.

Some of the most powerful and effective people I know have no title or their title reflects a fraction of the role they play at work, in their community and their lives in general. One person is Jim McCready, the man responsible for the daily care and operation of Victoria Park. I am not sure what his formal title is but for almost a quarter of a century he has risen long before most of us and arrives to scan the heart of the park to ensure it is safe for the earliest runners, dog walkers and kids. Under his leadership the park is immaculately groomed, trails are maintained, wildlife is free to safely roam, and new features like this year’s stairway to the wishing well expand everyone’s experience of Victoria Park. He epitomizes the principles of leading without a title: modeling a remarkable work ethic; always giving 150 per cent; bringing mastery to whatever he does; mentoring his team by managing expectations and appreciating their efforts; building solid relationships; acting as a great ambassador for the park… and simply being a man of character.

Jim reminds us that we can rewrite what we have been telling ourselves about what we cannot do and what we cannot become. It all starts with making a choice to show up as a leader with or without a title.      

The founder and president of Abundant Living Inc., Debbie Lawrence is a life, business and career coach and author of “Standing In Your Light: Women and Entrepreneurship” and “Dancing in Your Light: 6 Steps to Attracting A Life That Makes Your Heart Sing”. Debbie is also the recipient of the 2011 Nova Scotia Champion Ambassador Award for Workplace Education. Check out her website at or call (902) 895-6987. 

Organizations: The Leader, Frontline, Abundant Living Workplace Education

Geographic location: Victoria Park

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