Little acts of leadership can have a very big impact

Little acts of leadership can have a very big impact


What comes to mind for you when you hear the term leadership?

For most of us, it depends on the contexts in which we work and live. In business school you might be instructed that leadership is “guiding an organization to achievement of goals.” This same approach might be fitting in other settings like sports or politics.

For some, leaders might be characterized by their great accomplishments over time. For others, it may be their commitment to core values, or serving others, or transforming challenging circumstances into something positive. All good. But not within reach for all of us.

As we begin the new year, I encourage you to think about leadership a bit differently.

There is a great video on titled “Everyday Leadership” by Drew Dudley. It’s a funny and heartwarming reflection on how the little things can matter the most.

When I reflect on the things that have truly impacted me in my life, it is the little things that stick out the most. For instance:

  • The boss I had early in my career that when I would make a mistake, simply see it as a learning opportunity to not repeat that mistake. No harsh words. No threats or punishments. Just gentle guidance in learning and moving on.
  • The colleague and mentor I was blessed with early in my academic career that showed personal interest in my success and well-being. He helped me navigate a new industry and guided me into activities that would become core to my career success.
  • The people I interact with when they ask “how are you doing today” actually take the time to stop and listen with compassion and support. The ones that when things are not going well follow up with you later in the day to check in on you.
  • The individuals who always seem to be aware of their surroundings and offer to help others with absolutely no expectations in return. Hopefully you can cite many examples of this.


These are all “little acts with big impacts.”

Who have been these everyday leaders in your life? How have they impacted you, both in the short term and in the long run? Have they changed your views? Altered your perceptions? Shifted how you go about your work? Affected how you see and treat others in daily interactions? Or, just made you know that people really do care?

It is likely that most of you have had similar impacts on others – sometimes without even knowing it (like in the video mentioned above).

I encourage you to consider how you can apply the core principles of everyday leadership into your daily routine. You, the people around you, and all of Beaverton will benefit from your efforts.

Thank you for your wonderful little acts of leadership.


By Rob Routhieaux, Director of Small Business Support & Development. For more information about how your business can be involved or sponsorship opportunities, email us at or call, 503-644-0123.