Category Archives: Leadership

Microleadership: Coining a new term?

Leadership through micro-actions

In light of the disconcerting state in which the world finds itself as the wheel of time brings us into 2017, emphasis needs to be placed on the expansion of the meaning of leadership, rather than its redefinition – which, in commercial and scientific literature, has been done ad nauseum in recent years. It is, therefore, my intention to focus on empowering so-called micro-leaders and thus improving the state of the world one micro-action at a time.

Rediscovering leadership

Leadership is a demonstration of integrity and dignity through one’s acts, ideas, thoughts and initiatives that encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Responsive leadership resonates with the needs and wants of the community and society; it listens carefully, reflects thoughtfully and acts passionately resulting in enthusiastic followership and more importantly, a legacy.

I believe that societies have underestimated leaders’ incredible potential to bring about more leaders. We have failed to perceive leadership as an echo. A leader’s actions, often without him or her realizing so, have a unique opportunity to inspire others to spread their own echoes and multiply them – perhaps on a smaller scale, but with an equally potent impact.

Sustainably resolving the most puzzling of riddles of today should not be the sole responsibility of incumbent political, scientific, academic, military, or corporate leaders. Yet citizens look up to them expectantly to find unique, relevant and consequential solutions to the world’s most complex and urgent problems as they meet during international summits and conferences; at the United Nations headquarters; or at the exclusive WEF’s annual meetings in Davos, Klosters. It is this rhetoric that needs to shift in order for the scale of responsibilities to balance. It is now time to truly empower all citizens to partake in the process and thus change the prevailing paradigm.

 Can anyone be a leader then?

Making the world a better place and leaving a mark as a leader can be very overwhelming. However, when broken down into smaller steps – micro-actions – impactful leadership becomes more achievable. Micro-actions are projects run locally by micro-leaders – community experts and organizers – who have identified a gap in their community, decided to use their abilities to fill it and thus addressed and eliminated a given issue. When our current leaders embrace the concept of micro-leadership, encourage people to look for the gaps, and give them the right means and opportunities to seal them the impact can be far-reaching.

One example would be a nutritionist in Geneva, Diane F. who runs workshops on seasonal use of fruits/vegetables, explaining the detrimental effects their artificial out-of-season growth has on our ecosystem. This is a micro-leader with a great potential for a loud echo. Another example is a Slovak NGO, Youth Politics Education that connects students and recent graduates with internships in the public sector, thus addressing the issue of youth under-employment.

Essentially, the first step is to realize that none of us has less or more responsibility to lead the way or help others. In fact, when even the greatest of leaders among us endorse the idea of micro-actions we will find out that we all have an equal and a very manageable share of responsibility.

Consequently, step two is for our most powerful leaders to commit themselves to micro-action based leadership. This entails openly, publicly and actively using the resources at their disposal to support small-scale initiatives and results-oriented projects spear-headed and led by local community members that oftentimes go underrated and underfunded. Let’s not write off ‘less is more’ as a global leadership philosophy; it could secure a more caring and sustainable world.

 My micro message

It is imperative that our current leaders lead their teams, departments, ministries, institutions, organizations, companies and countries with an eager focus on collective actions and outcomes. The recurrence of civil strife, intercultural and religious conflicts and natural disasters clearly demonstrates that treaty-based and promise-based leadership is insufficient.

Action-based leadership is inclusive; it unites, inspires, awakens, shakes up, motivates, initiates, creates and innovates. Most of all, it begins with the admittance that the few (s)elected leaders cannot be expected to help restore the world on their own. Their primary mission should be to create an echo resonating with so many other micro-leaders that a change for the better will not remain a mere option; it will become the inevitable consequence.

Where do I fit in?

Formerly Vice Curator of Ottawa Global Shapers Hub and Curator of Bratislava Global Shapers Hub, I strive to be a micro-leader by example. I constantly encourage the Shapers to look for gaps and to channel their skills and passions towards meeting demand.

It is through small and local initiatives that we have the greatest capacity to make an impact on the world we live in. In the new year I have launched a global journalistic project Micro-Leaders; its aim is to recognize existing micro-leaders and subsequently motivate others to join the micro-actions movement within their capacities and resources.

Leading through microactions

Making the world a better place, one micro action at a time

Wanting to make the world a better place and to leave a mark is a noble and admirable approach to life; nevertheless, it is also an aspiration that can be very overwhelming. This doesn’t mean it is impossible; it simply needs to be broken down into more manageable and realistic steps – micro actions. Sometimes, less is more and many have embraced the concept. I have spoken to some of them and here are three simple ways in which a big difference can be made on a small scale. Reading through it you might even discover you have made one already and haven’t even realized it.

  1. Donate time

When a friend is running a half-marathon to raise money for cancer or biking across town in support of a local children’s hospital and you receive an email or a Facebook prompt to donate money to help them achieve their fundraising goals, you may not always be able to do so. Perhaps you are saving up to go back to school or you simply don’t have any extra cash to give away. This doesn’t mean you can’t help make a difference.

Instead of donating money, consider donating your time and energy. In essence, time is much more valuable because you can never get it back. Be there on the finish line to cheer them on with a customized homemade T-shirt. Take the time to tell others about your friend’s efforts. Or better yet, find a cause you are passionate about and get involved, too. Participation in living-on-a-dollar-a-day campaign by Results Canada or volunteering at a local food drive are just a couple of examples of donating your time to a great cause.

  1. Random acts of kindness

In order to inspire this section, I asked some of my friends what they’ve done to make a difference and this is what they said:

“I gave a 5-year old kid a balloon once in Strasbourg.”

“I just saw a lady picking out of our garbage can and I stopped to invite her for dinner. I even gave her desserts to take home.”

“Always be nice and polite to strangers.”

“I often pick up someone’s tab at a coffee shop. It always makes their day.”

“Give out at least one compliment per day. It should be sincere and ideally delivered in person. For an added challenge, try to compliment a stranger who you have only fleeting contact with, like a cashier or server. It is an easy way to brighten someone’s day.”

  1. Channel your strengths into local initiatives

If you have a special skill, interest, hobby, or passion and can find a way to align it with initiatives that already exist you don’t have to go too far to find a way to contribute. I dare to use myself as an example in this case.

I am a Zumba Fitness instructor and often teach free demo classes at local charitable events, including the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s annual Dance Marathon and Ottawa’s Scoliosis Awareness Walk. At last year’s Walk I gave a little girl a promotional rubber Zumba bracelet for doing her best dancing even with a back brace. It was such a simple thing to do but it was obvious how much it made her day.

Are you really good in maths, science or another subject? Find out if there are any charities or not-for-profit organizations that work with socially weaker families whose children you could tutor in your spare time.

The list could go on and on. So find out what drives and motivates you, and channel that into the world. More often than not, it is through small and local initiatives that we have the greatest capacity to make an impact on the world we live in. Less is more.

So, what will be your micro-idea, how will you channel it into a micro-action and where can it transform the world?