Jack was a “do-as-directed” professional. He used to tell his colleagues, “I am paid to do the work and my manager is paid to think about what I should be doing”. He would never own up anything more than his own tasks and would refrain from even thinking about the overall project. Times were good and he could survive working in that large IT company for 6 years with very average career growth.
Economy changed and company started cutting costs by laying off. Jack was a perfect candidate to be laid off. Post layoff, he was on his own. There was a vacuum around him with no one to tell him what to do. He had to own this situation if he had to survive. His personal leadership suddenly came to the fore. He thought, brainstormed, networked and worked hard towards getting a new job in a different area. Layoff stirred him from within to initiate something and own it up. For the first time, he looked at getting a new job as his own responsibility. Sense of purpose took over him.
There are similar cases when people take entrepreneurship route, start an NGO or execute bright ideas after they are laid off or subjected to a difficult personal situation.
Personal leadership is within all of us but somehow organization’s bureaucratic structure kills/supresses it. Difficult times like these stir people from within and it is interesting to see how average people take charge of situation (in this case, their careers) and demonstrate personal leadership.
As we know by now that leadership is not about position, title or power. Leadership is a state of mind, it is about doing the right thing and realizing that the focus is on YOU.