“Corey, Aaron, and Justin, I would like to have you three be the leaders from our class to represent us. We will be presenting the Twin Towers model to the city for a temporary display.”
Their faces filled with smiles and big bright eyes. Priceless. No one would have used leader to describe these boys. They were in trouble, missed school, and had difficulty in academics. However, in our project-based learning activities following 9-11, they shined bright. They loved painting, measuring, and building these towers. When the reporter and photographer arrived, it was their time to shine. When their pictures landed on the newspaper’s front page along with their quotes, they were walking with pride. A change just happened for them—an opportunity to lead with pride.
Leadership can come in a moment when you need it. Maybe it does not last, and sometimes it does. Often it comes by someone giving you a chance to show others what you can do.
If you Google leadership resources, you will find 807,000,000 results. Narrow your search by focusing on one leadership element, but you will still find a large number. If we have all of these resources, we should have excellent leaders! Do we?
If you are reading this, you are interested in leadership, or you are a leader. Thank you for your leadership! It is a vital role with so many responsibilities.
Individuals look to the leader for strength, safety, solutions, spirit, and so much more. When did you discover you were a leader? Did someone tell you? Was it because of a job you held? Maybe it was when you organized the Christmas party? At some point, you knew the word leader was part of how others would describe you.
Now that you know you are a leader, what is at the core of your leadership? What describes you as a leader? How are you different from others? Are you like another leader?
Leadership is an ongoing process. It is something you continue to develop as you learn from:
- Lessons you have completed on your journey
- People you have listened to and watched
- Associations/Organizations you joined
- The networking you have done with purpose
- A mentor you have gained
Knowing who you are as a leader is essential. Understand your “why” so you can help those you lead find theirs. This “why” is the core of your leadership. It leads you in “what” you do.
Everything I do each day is to make today better for someone. My “kids” (students) are essential to me. They know it too! The “why” in “what” I do. The “why” is the passion behind your work and “why” you do “what” you do. When others see your passion, your “why,” and purpose, they get excited because you are, your enthusiasm becomes contagious, and your authentic approach builds a strong trust.
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO GROW AS A LEADER
- Master your position- Be the best at “what” you do. Let others see, model. Share with others the “how.” Nothing speaks louder than this.
- Thought Leader- Join in discussions, share ideas, read others’ work, create content yourself, acknowledging others’ work, gain a reputation of knowing and maybe begin a blog. Soon you may be presenting at conferences and much more! You decide the level you want to be at, but the most important thing is to help others.
- Be a mentor or coach- I had/have mentors. They are amazing to learn from always. I have been/am a mentor/coach, and it is the best. Learning happens for all involved. Always be willing to learn and to share what you know to help others grow!
- Focus on Future- What is your strategic plan, what does it look like regarding the future? Great Leaders have a focused vision, taking responsibility for supporting their team in implementing a plan to succeed today and in the future. By providing a clear path for the future you build hope. Hope is what is needed in order to heal, forgive, accept and establish the journey forward.
- Reflection- take time to look at your core (Values, Beliefs, Vision, Characteristics-Integrity, Humility, Trust, Honesty). Make sure others see your reflection in the same way you believe you are reflecting it.
Thank you for being part of the solution daily. Leaders lead by example while lifting others. They willingly share what they know with others and always look for ways to provide more learning for those they serve. Leadership is the core to the success of all of our organizations. Thank you for all you do.