By Scot Marsden, Business Senator
As a boy, I was the leader of our neighborhood posse. We did all those crazy fun things that young hooligans do growing up. However, as we started to mature, I realized it was my responsibility to help lead my friends into paths of diligence and character. I came to understand that this was the essence of leadership, influencing others for good.
Some believe leadership is a gift you either have or don’t have. Others believe leadership is determined by wealth and prominence. I believe leadership is a characteristic and skill that is honed and developed. We live in a time where this skill is being squelched. Sound leadership is needed now more than ever. It must be obtained in order to be successful in family life, work, the community, the state, the nation, and the world.
Leadership is not reserved for an elect few. This skill ought to be sought after by all people from all walks of life. Everyone has the opportunity to be a leader. John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” As we each interact with people on a daily basis, we have the opportunity to be able to inspire and influence them for good.
Leadership is like a stool. It requires three legs in order to be balanced, stable and functional. The legs of leadership are vision, belief, and influence.
A leader is one who possesses vision. In other words, this is the ability to formulate and articulate the best possible outcome or end-all goal that will benefit the most people. A good vision is one that motivates others to specific actions. An excellent exemplar of possessing vision is Martin Luther King, Junior. He envisioned equality for all mankind. This vision empowered the Civil Rights Movement and other important events that paved the way for progress in obtaining equality among all men and women. Although we may never play a role as big as Martin Luther King, Junior, we can develop and demonstrate this skill in our own spheres of influence.
A leader is one who inspires belief. Belief in one’s own potential is the biggest determinant to individual success. Seeing and believing in your own potential, however, is not a task you can accomplish by yourself. A leader is that someone who helps you see who you can
become and how to get there. Your wishful hope is transformed into an obtainable action plan. In this sense, the leader has inspired you
to believe that you can actually achieve your dreams.
A leader is one who brings people together and influences them for good. One of the greatest experiences to be had is being united in a common cause. The ability to bridge cultural, political, economic, and religious differences and unite people in pursuing one goal is the influence for good that I am speaking of. These united relationships will change people’s lives. The ability to facilitate that connection and that unity is known as leadership.
Remember that leadership is not a gift given to a select group, nor is it determined by wealth and prominence. Leadership is a core characteristic trait to be developed through diligence. As you become a leader, you will come to understand what Tom Peters meant when he stated, “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”