Social Leadership Means Lead Where You Are

August 2, 2018

We are often led to believe that Social Leadership is something out of reach for ordinary people.  The perception is often created through the media that ordinary people cannot be Social Leaders.  It seems you have to be in some kind of grand leadership position to make a difference in society.  Social Leadership focussed on making change in society seems to be the domain of big names, living on stages and podiums, doing things worthy of being published on Time Magazine’s front page. Leadership, glorified by the media, is something out there, seemingly far removed from the everyday struggle you and I face.

Social Leadership Starts with a Change of Heart

Social Leadership is not only demonstrated by mobilizing the masses and impacting nations.  Real Social Leadership is demonstrated by a change of heart, to cultivate a willingness to address injustices.  The changing of heart to be sensitive for opportunities to make a difference makes Social Leadership something very personal. If the change does not start with the individual, if you cannot lead yourself to do the right thing, you can lead no one else!

Social Leadership Lies in the Small Acts

Social Leadership is demonstrated through small and seemingly insignificant actions of one person to another. It starts

with recognizing the humanity in someone and responding, as one human to another.  Social Leadership never expects something back and often never knows the impact your small deed may have on the life of that person.

Social Leadership in Action

Social Leadership is the white client engaging the black fore-court attendant at the petrol station in a conversation about soccer, chipping away at the racial stereotypes. It is the medical doctor, giving his valuable time, taking homeless small children to a movie theatre, awakening ambitions to make more of their lives than the circumstances they were born into.  Social Leadership is the friendly and courteous greeting of a white clergyman to a black woman, while her small boy looks on.  That boy was Desmund Tutu, who became one of the most influential leaders in the South African Liberation movement.

Social Leadership is not big crowds or large conferences and time magazine front page photos.  It is the small acts of small people, responding to the humanity in others. Social Leadership is not a concept, it is an action. It is getting involved where it is sometimes uncomfortable. It is growing your circle of influence one person at a time.

Mother Teresa once said “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

When was the last time you did something for someone who can never repay you?

What small actions of selflessness will you do tomorrow that may have a profound impact on someone’s life?

About the author

Joseph Hawking has a passion for people & leadership development and since he discovered his mom’s old typewriter as a boy, have been writing in some form or another. He is part of the Leadership for The International Mentoring Network, where he is a regular Idea Studio Facilitator and Annual IMN Conference Speaker. He believes that the highest form of living is using what you have been blessed with, to add value to other people’s lives. He has been publishing The Leadership Connexion blog since August 2018.