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Embracing Your Inner Leader: How to Lead at Any Level


In a world where leadership can seem confined to specific titles and approval from higher-ups, the truth is you don’t need permission to be a leader. 

Leadership isn’t limited to a select few or predefined roles: It’s a mindset, a way of being and it’s accessible to all, regardless of your current position or background. This realization has become the cornerstone of my coaching philosophy, and it’s a message I share with my clients, especially those from first-generation and underrepresented backgrounds.

Think back to a time in your career when you held back, doubting your abilities, or waiting for someone to notice your potential. If you’ve been there, you’re not alone. Many of us have found ourselves in this situation, waiting for our hard work and dedication to be recognized, for our chance to “become” a leader.

But then, something profound happened. I stopped waiting and started embracing the truth about leadership: it’s not something bestowed upon you—it’s something you cultivate within yourself. It’s about recognizing your unique potential and taking bold action.

“No more waiting for organizations to recognize your gifts and put you in a leadership role. You can be a leader at any level. And you don’t need permission to be one.”

This statement, the crux of my coaching philosophy, speaks to the heart of what it means to be a leader. You don’t need anyone’s permission or validation to embark on your leadership journey. Your leadership potential exists within you right now. It’s not about conforming to someone else’s idea of leadership; it’s about unleashing your unique leadership style.

It can be easy to feel that we must fit into a preconceived mold of leadership—especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, But the truth is, diversity in leadership is a strength, and your unique perspective and experiences can be the driving force behind your leadership style.

So, how do you become a leader at any level?

Recognize Your Potential: The first step is acknowledging your leadership potential. Understand that leadership is not about titles or waiting for someone else’s approval. It’s about knowing that you have the capability to make a difference.

Take Initiative: Leadership requires action. Be proactive in seeking opportunities to make a positive impact within your organization, team or community. Don’t wait for someone else to lead the way—be the change you want to see.

Embrace Your Uniqueness: Your background, experiences and perspective are assets. Embrace your uniqueness and allow it to shape your leadership style. Remember that diversity in leadership leads to more innovative and well-rounded solutions.

Lead by Example: Leading at any level means setting an example for others. Demonstrate the qualities you admire in leaders, such as integrity, empathy and a commitment to growth and development.

Continuously Learn and Grow: Leadership is an ongoing journey. Invest in your personal and professional development whilst seeking opportunities to improve your leadership skills and knowledge.

It’s time to dispel the myth that leadership is reserved for a select few or dependent on external approval. Leadership is about recognizing your potential and taking ownership of your journey. 

So, remember, you have the power to be a leader at any level, and you don’t need anyone’s permission to start. You can inspire change, make a difference and become a leader by simply embracing your inner leadership potential.

Connect with Dani Tan on LinkedIn and visit her website.