This seems to be the time when applicants worry about lack of leadership. On the BW Forum and in the recent teleseminar I hosted with Maxx Duffy there were questions that went like this:
"I work on teams and in a non-hierarchical organization. I don’t have leadership experience."
Does lack of official subordinates equal lack of leadership? Does lack of any work experience imply a lack of leadership?
The answer in both cases is a resounding "No."
First of all, you do not need a title to lead. Eisenhower defined leadership as the "art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it." No mention of title or hierarchy there.
You lead when you convince members of your team, club, or committee to take a course of action that you have advocated. You lead when you propose a new policy to higher-ups, gather support, and they accept your proposal. And yes you (usually) lead subordinates — if you have them. But they are not necessary to show leadership.
In general applicants tend to think of leadership in narrow terms: title, underlings, reports. It is far broader than that. Admissions committee members recognize that breadth. So should you. And then portray it.
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