How it takes different perspectives and methods to lead others
For some, taking charge is never easy while for others it occurs naturally. Making decisions, delegating tasks and organizing meetings becomes all too common for those who lead. Our world requires various types of leaders and numerous opportunities to be involved in these positions.
Qualities in leaders vary based on situation, event and interaction, and not everyone leads the same way, nor will every leader work well for everyone. We all have mentors we admire, look up to and seek for guidance. They challenge us to become better people, strive for new achievements and serve as our rock in preparing us for what’s ahead.
In my experience, leadership is an opportunity to learn more about fellow team members, oneself and about the objective you strive to achieve. It is not about being the dominant figure and pressing your views onto others. It also shouldn’t be about obtaining a title or using your position as a tool to further you through the social ladder.
To me, a good leader develops an atmosphere that encourages various opinions within dialogue and fosters freedom of expression. All opinions are heard and none are silenced. Discussion is meaningful as well as progressive. No one should belittle others, nor should people flash their title or position in others’ faces to get ahead.
Leaders often make executive decisions, but they may consult the group for feedback and consensus.
In my leadership, I try to promote long-term thinkers, decision-makers, and activists that passionately seek to create positive change. By providing a foundation of knowledge and resources, my team can take their new acquired skills and implement them successfully on their own.
Essentially I see my role as helping to foster those around me, acting as a source of reference. By providing the fundamentals, my colleagues continue efforts on their own as well as throughout the community in order to advocate towards embetterment for current and future generations.
Now, I’ve never been one for the spotlight, nor do I need constant recognition for my work. For me it isn’t about that, but rather centered on helping others realize their potential and encouraging them to follow what they’re passionate about. I figure, if I am capable of providing others opportunities through my leadership, it is the least I can do. Surely the investment and time are well worth it. Basically, the intrinsic benefits outweigh the costs.
As a leader, you serve as a role model whose purpose is to help foster betterment, whether through people or communities, and expect little to nothing in return. An internal reward is often all one needs but often is overlooked. Individuals want physical evidence of their accomplishments; such as a certificate, trophy or ribbon to demonstrate all that they have done.
Do we really need these physical sources of evidence to have a sense of accomplishment and understanding regarding how our actions can have influence? Perhaps we’ve become so centered on image that we ignore what really matters, which is the positive influence we can have on regional, national and global scales.
Although disagreeable, our economy and societal norms may encourage these types of mentalities and actions. Today we are fixated with status, oneself, and being ahead of others. Often, however, these steer away from a leader’s morally good intention. To a degree, we are all at fault of doing this whether by choice or because of societal pressures to belong and “succeed”. Overall, we like external cues, as they are easier for others to interpret and gauge who we are as well as what we have accomplished. This mentality however is faulty as it allows individuals to place themselves as higher than others for having certain material figure possessions. Everything is more complex than what it appears. Surveying individuals or leaders by the surface is shallow and is often a misinterpreted generalization. As a leader, it is good to be selfless and help others achieve before oneself.
Some would argue internal rewards makes it harder to measure what an individual has achieved, therefore making them appear less capable of completing these notable “accomplishments”. What is a accomplishment and how do we measure it? I’d argue that there are many forms of accomplishment and various methods to reach a sense of it. There is not a standard and we shouldn’t aim to conform to a certain norm.
Being and seeing things differently is a good thing. It creates engaging dialogue and provoking perspectives of worldviews; therefore, having various types of leaders is a necessity. If you have the capabilities to positively influence the affairs of the world, why wouldn’t you lead? Again it is all about knowing your strengths, weaknesses, and talents as well as being able to recognize what others can bring to table and how to help them maximize their potential.
The mentality that only some can be leaders is erroneous. Everyone has the capabilities to lead but may not have the drive or willingness to fill the position. You may, however, not even realize your capabilities. Maximizing your resources and finding your role models are essential. Discovering your leadership takes time. It varies from situation to situation and changes as new experiences and knowledge is acquired.
You spend 24/7 with yourself. The least you can do is figure out how you function, think and behave. From this, you can better understand what you bring to the table, how you can help others, and ultimately determine how you lead. It takes all types of leaders to make things happen. How then does your leadership influence the affairs of the world?
Kelly T. Knutson 15′ is an opinion columnist for the Concordia who focuses on environmental awareness / concerns in his entries. Originally from the upland prairies of Grand Forks, North Dakota, Kelly recently transplanted to Bemidji where he calls the conifer forests of Minnesota his home. Being ecologically literate and knowing his roots comes at high importance to Kelly. In his spare time he enjoys being immersed as well as fascinated by nature through hiking, birdwatching, mushroom foraging, camping etc. At Concordia he is involved with Sea – Student Environmental Alliance, Concordia Chapel Choir, Eco-Reps as the Coordinator, 2014 Sustainability Symposium planning committee, coordinating the 2014 HILT High Impact Leadership Trip for spring break, and a Lab TA for the Biology department.