There I stood in front of a crowd of one thousand students and faculty members, at a university in the Midwest. One instructor stood up with a question I get almost everywhere I go: “Is everyone a leader?”
The answer of course is yes and no. (How’s that for a politically correct answer?) It all depends on how you define the word “leader.” If you define it in the traditional fashion—that a leader is someone with a position, in charge of a group of people in an organization—then, the answer is no, in my opinion. Not everyone and certainly not every student is gifted to become the president, the chairman, the CEO or the key leader of a large team of people. Most will never occupy a top spot in a flow chart. Perhaps only ten percent of the population will.
I also hear loads of excuses as to why people just can’t be a leader. They are varied, but I’ve found one common thread in them. All of them fail to embrace what we at Growing Leaders consider to be an authentic definition for leadership. This leads to the following excuses for why people cannot lead.