In a thought-provoking episode of our Narativ Leadership Story Talks Podcast, hosts Jerome and Julienne had the opportunity to converse with Ash Beckham, renowned advocate for empathy and authentic communication and author of Step Up: How to Live with Courage and Become an Everyday Leader.
Ash has made it her mission to champion the cause of everyday leadership, based on her firm belief that leadership is not confined to corporate boardrooms but is demonstrated in the small actions and interactions we engage in daily.
Ash’s journey into the realms of empathy and leadership has seen her give life-changing TED talks and write impactful books. She has engaged audiences across the world, empowering individuals to embrace authentic communication, empathy, and, above all, to take on the mantle of everyday leadership.
In this podcast episode, Ash, Jerome, and Julienne delve deep into Ash’s experiences and the profound life lessons she’s learned along the way. They discuss the principles of everyday leadership, the power of authenticity, and how fostering empathy can transform our daily interactions into meaningful connections.
From a simple yet transformative encounter with a four-year-old to Ash’s inspiring views on leadership, this episode is a treasure trove of insights and perspectives that could change how we view leadership and communication. In this blog, we cover the key insights and takeaways from this episode.
The Principle of Everyday Leadership
Understanding Everyday Leadership
Everyday leadership is a principle deeply ingrained in the philosophy of Ash Beckham. Unlike traditional conceptions of leadership, which often conjure images of corporate powerhouses or political figures, everyday leadership is more democratic and universal in its approach.
It’s about transforming our daily actions and interactions into opportunities for leadership, essentially embodying leadership qualities such as empathy, authenticity, and courage in all aspects of our lives.
This conception of leadership transcends job titles or hierarchies; it’s not about leading a team or managing an organization. It’s about how we show up in our interactions, how we communicate, and, most importantly, how we connect with others on a human level.
As Ash beautifully put it in the podcast episode, everyday leadership is about allowing every interaction to be a unique moment and showing up equally in that moment, just as a four-year-old would.
The Role of Empathy in Everyday Leadership
Empathy lies at the heart of everyday leadership. It is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, fostering a human connection that extends beyond mere conversation. In the context of Ash Beckham’s work and experiences shared in the podcast, empathy plays a crucial role in facilitating genuine connections.
From her transformative encounter with a four-year-old to her insightful conversations with diverse audiences, Ash consistently demonstrates the power of empathy in breaking down barriers and fostering authentic connections. By leading with empathy, we can better understand others’ perspectives and respond in a way that promotes understanding, respect, and ultimately, effective leadership.
Applying Everyday Leadership in Our Lives
Authenticity in Communication
Authenticity in communication is another pillar of everyday leadership. As Ash points out in the podcast, when we communicate authentically, we create a stage for more authenticity. This can be as simple as expressing our confusion, asking questions when we don’t understand, or stating what we think, feel, or want clearly.
Ash’s story about the four-year-old who asked, “Are you a boy or girl?” was a teaching moment when Ash realized that the child’s question was just a question, not a loaded probe into the past that warranted unleashing vengeful answers. It highlights the power of authentic communication. If we can learn to communicate with the same authenticity and simplicity, we can forge more meaningful connections and foster better leadership.
Viewing Each Interaction as a Unique Moment
Another vital element of applying everyday leadership is viewing each interaction as a unique moment. Too often, we carry preconceived notions, stereotypes, or past experiences into our interactions. But as Ash emphasizes, we should approach each interaction as a separate moment, allowing it to be just that: a moment.
Doing so allows us to be present and fully engaged in the interaction, free from the burden of past experiences or future expectations. It helps us respond authentically and empathetically to the situation at hand, fostering better communication and, ultimately, effective leadership.
Everyday Leadership: A Pathway of Incremental Steps
The Importance of Incremental Steps
In our quest to become everyday leaders, we often get overwhelmed by the enormity of the change we wish to see in ourselves. However, Ash Beckham proposes a simpler, more effective approach: taking incremental steps.
In the podcast, Beckham emphasizes that personal growth and leadership development aren’t about making leaps and bounds overnight. Instead, it’s about making small but consistent steps forward. Whether it’s showing empathy in a tough conversation, practicing active listening, or standing up for what’s right, these seemingly minor actions accumulate over time, fostering a culture of everyday leadership.
It’s the power of these tiny, incremental steps that transforms our everyday actions into opportunities for leadership. It allows us to continuously improve, shaping us into more empathetic, authentic, and effective leaders.
Embracing the Non-Linear Journey
Much like life itself, the journey of everyday leadership is non-linear. In the podcast, Ash Beckham echoes this truth, highlighting that growth often comes with ups and downs, progress, and setbacks.
Rather than viewing these ebbs and flows as obstacles, Beckham encourages us to embrace them. These highs and lows are not only inevitable but integral to our growth as leaders. Every challenge, misstep, or failure presents an opportunity for learning and growth.
By accepting the non-linear nature of our leadership journey, we allow ourselves to be human—to make mistakes, learn, grow, and emerge stronger. In doing so, we foster resilience, adaptability, and the ability to navigate change, embodying true everyday leadership.
This concept is beautifully encapsulated in Beckham’s own journey, where she learned and grew from every encounter, conversation, and experience, transforming into the inspiring figure she is today. Embracing the non-linear journey is thus not only about becoming better leaders but also about becoming better, more evolved individuals.
Manifesting Everyday Leadership: The Transformational Arc
The Ripple Effect of Everyday Leadership
As we distill the essence of our conversation with Ash Beckham, it’s clear that everyday leadership is not just a philosophy—it’s a powerful practice that can reshape our personal and professional landscapes.
Whether it’s the role of empathy in building stronger relationships, the importance of authenticity in communication, or the courage to approach every interaction as a unique moment, these principles of everyday leadership are transformational. They encourage us to step up, be bold, and seize the reins of our lives, driving personal growth and inspiring those around us.
Moreover, embracing the journey of leadership as a series of incremental steps and understanding its nonlinear nature allows us to take ownership of our growth. It fuels our resilience, adaptability, and capacity to navigate life’s inevitable ups and downs.
Embarking on Your Everyday Leadership Journey
As we wrap up this enlightening exploration of everyday leadership, we encourage you to carry these insights into your life. Start with small, deliberate steps, practicing empathy and authenticity, embracing each moment as unique, and viewing your journey as an evolving non-linear pathway.
To delve deeper into the realm of everyday leadership, explore Ash Beckham’s inspirational book, Step Up: How to Live with Courage and Become an Everyday Leader. Beckham’s wisdom extends far beyond what we’ve discussed here, offering valuable insights and practical tools to cultivate your own everyday leadership.
Additionally, for a richer understanding of these principles, we invite you to listen to the full conversation with Ash Beckham on the Narativ Leadership Story Talks Podcast. Tune in to tap into the power of everyday leadership, harnessing its potential to transform your life and the world around you.