A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way." -John C. Maxwell
When it comes to leadership, many people will imagine one person higher than the others (similar to the picture to the left). In reality (or at least the reality that I imagine), the only way you can tell the difference between a leader and a follower is by observing the way that they carry themselves and how they utilize their skills. Anyone can be a leader, it is just their decisions to make that happen for themselves.
I think a big part of that is confidence. There are two main types of confidence that are needed in order to become a leader, confidence in yourself and confidence in others. Just like love, you have to believe in yourself before you believe in others. When I taught a male leadership course, the entire first half of the semester was spent running exercising and having my students take a deeper look at who they were as individuals and what they stood for. Before you can lead someone in a direction, it is first and foremost important to realize what direction you are even going in in the first place!
Once you have discovered your path and place emphasis on it in everything you do, others will begin to see your dedication and are more likely to follow your path once they have set you as a role model level. It is very difficult to get to this level. I tell my RAs and RDs all the time that they are in a fish bowl. I even have a fish bowl in my office to illustrate this point. Being fish in the aquarium, my RAs/RDs go about their everyday lives eating, sleeping, and enjoying other people's company, but never realize how often they are being watched by others around them. Especially for the younger students, this is possibly the first time they have ever had to look at themselves through a future employer's eye. Whenever you are granted power over a group of individuals, it is your duty to keep the power and not not abuse it by giving a student/employer the wrong impression of who you are and what you stand for.
The second part of confidence is having confidence in others around you. A perfect boss/leader will never say "I", they will always say "we". This is because a good leader recognized that they are not good at everything and must fall back on the strengths of their staff or others around them in order to be successful. No one person is an island, so it only makes sense a team should be involved when it comes to personal development as well as the development of a staff! Once a leader is able to diagnose the different strengths or weaknesses of a team, they are able to assign special roles for individuals that will help grow their strengths and challenge them to become better. By having those high expectations, they are more likely to meet them, but the right amount of support is needed in order for them to get there. I have talked about these two points many many many times in previous posts so I won't be a broken record, but leadership is one of the best skills to have, you just need to practice it in order to make it happen!
Question Time: Are you a leader? Where did you learn these skills?
About the video: It wouldn't be a leadership pep talk without the kid president. Although this video is about a year and a half old, there are still no other videos that even get as close to as much fun and inspiring elements as this one does! Enjoy :)