In Student Affairs, we spend so much time talking about Leadership. We talk about how to be a good leader, how to sharpen your leadership skills, and the importance of having good leaders around us, amongst other things. However, do we really understand the real meaning behind Leadership? When was the last time you actually took the time to take a closer look at the word itself?
Here are just a few thoughts for you to ponder:
L: Is for the love you must have for others, and taking the opportunity to learn from all of life’s experiences, whether they are positive or negative. From these experiences, we are able to develop who we really are as individuals.
E: Stands for the energy that you must have in the work that you do. It is very important that you are able to motivate and excite people about what they are doing. Once motivated, many realize their potential and began to believe, understand, and take action to accomplish their goals.
A: Is for always believing in your higher power. In my life, there have been many trials and tribulations, none of which my higher power has not carried me through. Mine has moved mountains and calmed the troubled waters.
D: Is about the dedication and diversity that one must have in order to be successful. You must be dedicated to yourself first as a true leader. This means that you need to take the time to foster your own development, just as you would those who work around you. If you aren’t able to be dedicated to yourself first, it’s pretty difficult to do the same for others. Along these lines, a true leader is not afraid to explore the unknown and those things that are different than them. They aren’t afraid of learning about different views and welcome a healthy dialogue.
E: Is for expecting the best out of life. With a positive attitude, you can accomplish anything.
R: Stands for respect. You must respect yourself and others in order to be a true leader. Without respect, your goals will fall short.
S: Is self-improvement. We can all make improvements in our life to increase our leadership abilities. Read a book, join a gym, or even learn how to swim. From these simple activities, a true leader will learn and grow in the most important ways and will develop a sense of self-awareness that they can find most fruitful.
H: Is for holding on to your dreams. We all have dreams in life, in
which we can and will achieve. No one can take those dreams away from you unless you let them. Learn how to write down what you want to happen. This allows you the ability to have accountability for what you desire, hence giving you the burning desire to put those dreams into motion.
I: Is integrity. People must not compromise their integrity to get ahead in life. We all must stand up against the injustices of life and be who we really are as leaders . . . that of being civil and honest with one another. This fosters an environment that allows others to be their very best.
P: Is about persistence. You must not give up so easily. With persistence, you will find success.
So the next time you talk about LEADERSHIP, think about what it really means to you and be willing to look for a deeper meaning, which will surely open up a world of opportunity as a leader.
Rinardo Reddick is coordinator for America Reads/America Counts and a doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Iowa State University.