Leadership. What does this word mean to you? Do you think of a single individual of high standing, elected to guide a huge crowd? Or do think of a leader as an average person who has positive qualities that influence others although they are not labeled under a ‘top’ title? John C. Maxwell agrees with the latter, and in his book, ‘The 360 Degree Leader’, he explains about what he believes a true leader to be. In class, we had discussions about common myths about what people often believe leadership to be. Through the class discussions, I learned more about the seven myths of leadership: Position, Destination, Influence, Inexperience, Freedom, Potential and All-or-Nothing.
For many people, there is a belief that leaders need to possess a certain ‘top’ title in order to achieve results and help others become productive. However, this is untrue because a supposedly ‘high’ title means nothing unless the person under that title lives up to it. A completely average person has the ability to demonstrate leadership when they work hard and reflect a positive influence on the people around them, even though they are not under a specific ‘top’ title.
I am learning to lead not only by reading this book, but by seeing examples from the people around me on a daily basis. When my peers step up to guide others, I admire them as role models and look up to the way they lead and try to learn from them. Currently, I have the opportunity to develop my leadership skills in situations like on the basketball court while interacting with my teammates during practice and in games.
When people have certain qualities, it prompts me to follow them as a leader. Positivity and encouragement are important because these characteristics work hand in hand to bring the spirits of others up, while supporting them. Continuous effort is also essential since leader should not be slacking off or giving up when situations get difficult, and instead, should be working hard to accomplish whatever it is that they set their mind to doing.
A leader is valuable in an organization or committee because they communicate with all the members of the group to make sure everyone understands what to do. A leader also considers everyone’s opinion and is chosen by committee members when they display traits that each member respects and believes would be good qualities to look up to. Overall, the leader would hold the organization together by connecting and managing ideas and respecting each member’s opinions.
When you move up in an organization, in certain ways, the weight of your responsibility would increase because you may be responsible for more parts of the project than you had been before. In terms of leadership, people may look up to you more since you are at a higher level, however the truth is that you should have been demonstrating just as much leadership while under a ‘lower title’ as being under a ‘higher title’.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s words, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” relates to the idea of allowing a title or position to limit your potential. This is because sometimes having a lower title than others may “make you feel inferior” or feel like you have a “limit to your potential” when honestly, it means nothing of the sort. No matter what position you currently hold, no one can limit your ability and potential to demonstrate leadership skills.
It is true that becoming a CEO may seem unobtainable, however that does not mean that you should give up leading altogether. Every level of an organization needs people with leader-like qualities, and without those people stepping up to support their level of the organization, the whole thing can fall apart. Even with the CEO directing the whole organization in general, there still needs to be leaders standing at each lower level, supporting their co-workers and leading them to success.