What's So Important About Leadership (for Students)?
This is directed towards students, but will be good for anyone to read. If you know a student in high school or college, pass this on to them!
What does this word mean to you?
Does it seem like an intimidating word because it makes you think about your high-school principal, or perhaps the business and political leaders in your community?
Does it only pertain to those who have more money and experience in life, or those who get elected or hired into certain positions, such as a county sheriff, or the president of the local bank, or the mayor of your town?
Maybe you think you’ve had some experience with leadership if you’ve served on your school’s student council, or been captain of one of your school’s sports or academic teams. Maybe you’re a youth leader at your church or drum major for your high school band.
Whatever you think about leadership, you may be right! But there may be WAY more to it than that!
The world needs leaders.
So, where do they come from? Are leaders born, or made? How do people become leaders?
Businessperson Donald McGannon said, “Leadership is an action; not a position.”
Leadership is not only for the privileged, the famous, the good-looking, or the fortunate. –And leadership does not simply mean bossing people or being in authority over a group of people. (A lot of people who have had control, or authority over groups of people have been terrible leaders!)
Leadership is for everyone! That is, for everyone who wants to pursue it. Author John Maxwell said, “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”
Attitude is everything.
So, for those who want to pursue it, it IS attainable. You don’t have to wait to be chosen or elected to be a leader. You can develop the necessary qualities over time if you have the right attitude.
Leadership is about self-control, having a positive outlook, and doing the right thing. It takes listening carefully and empathetically to others and communicating your own ideas, beliefs, and feelings clearly and confidently.
It’s about knowing yourself, having dreams, and setting and attaining goals—and even learning how to overcome obstacles in the pursuit of those goals!
A successful author in the field of business leadership, Warren Bennis, once said, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” What do you think that means? Do you have a “vision” for your life? Where do you want to be in the future—in one year, in three years? —Five years? –Ten years?
Maybe you want to go to college—that’s great! But how do you make that happen? Are you taking all the right steps (and high school courses) to prepare yourself for college? Are you researching the necessary requirements, talking to the right people, and planning out the action steps to fulfill your goals, or are you just hoping that it all works out somehow? Maybe you first need to work on improving your GPA to help get you into a college or program you are interested in. Again—planning and action steps are required!
It has been said that a goal without a plan is just a wish.
Maybe you have dreams and goals beyond college. Maybe you have the desire to motivate, influence, and help other people. That’s great too! It has been noted that you really can’t be a leader unless you are serving and inspiring others around you.
A lot of people have dreams but they never take action to fulfill those dreams.
Or, they allow circumstance and external factors to determine their success.
The key to leadership—and success—is internal. It comes from your beliefs and attitudes about yourself and the world around you. Every person has nearly limitless untapped potential waiting to be developed.
You have the ability to develop into a leader.
It doesn’t matter which town you are from, which school you went to, what family you are from, how much money you have, or how young you are—you have the ability to develop into a leader. And, you’re never too old (or too “successful”) to continue this development! Even Tiger Woods has a golf coach!
And, when you develop yourself to higher levels of potential, then you begin to have an influence on others around you! They may be inspired by you and want to better themselves because of what they see in you! Speaker and author Brian Tracy said, “Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position.”
Remember, many companies are looking to hire college graduates not only with high GPAs and good technical knowledge, but also with skills like interpersonal communication, teamwork, integrity, professionalism, and responsibility—Skills that leaders have!
The world needs leaders. The world needs you!
If you desire to learn more about leadership, seek out books, programs, organizations and people that can help you develop your leadership potential. You might want to consider taking a special class to really dig into the specifics of leadership development and goal achievement. You take classes to learn English, Math, and Science, why not take a class on Leadership? Or, you might want employ the services of a success coach to help you along your journey. Start today!
Whatever your situation, remember: Your future is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. Linda L. Martin, the founder of Resource Associates Corporation, said, “There is no greater responsibility in life than realizing your potential and in so doing, leaving this world a little bit better than it was when you entered it.”