My Leadership Philosophy

I was attending an “Attitude Concepts for Today” leadership workshop led by Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser when I really grasped the concept of why we need leaders and how leaders become successful. He gave us a scenario of a group of upper classmen in high school who were about to skip gym class to go smoke. Before they went, one of the guys saw a quiet freshman and said, “Hey man, ditch with us. Don’t worry about missing class, it’s only gym and you wont get caught.” With that, he convinced the boy to ditch class and smoke with them. DR. Tim asked us to raise our hands if we thought the kid was a good leader, but no one did. Then he told us we better raise our hands because of course that kid was a good leader. Sure, he wasn’t doing good things and was causing others to do bad things with him, but the point was that he got them to do it.

The main point that I took home from Dr. Tim’s workshops was this: leadership is all about how what you do influences what other people do, whether it be for a good result, or a bad one. Although I think there are way too many ideas and approaches regarding leadership to write about, I feel that this is the most absolutely important aspect to consider (in my experience, at least). This main idea can be modified/applied differently depending on what leadership style is being used, what the goal of the group as a whole is, and what type of people are being dealt with. I always try to keep this idea in my head, not only when I am in a leadership situation, but ultimately throughout my day to keep myself aware of my actions and how they may affect others.

”People don’t always remember what you say or even what you do, but they always remember how you made them feel.” I’m certain many people have heard this quote by Maya Angelou, and I think it strongly relates to my main idea. If someone in a leadership position is rude, has a poor attitude, and delegates power unfairly, imagine how a follower under that leader may feel. They will be less responsive to whatever the leader says. Picture the differences in basketball teams if one coach is encouraging and motivates his team to do their best, and the other coach is a hot-head who doesn’t show much appreciation for his players. Which team do you think would play better and win more games?

This main idea can also be applied differently depending on what the goal at hand is. Sitting through a business meeting with bored, miserable colleagues, a long agenda, and a dull presentation by the boss will make time go by slow and seem inefficient. If the boss walks in with professional enthusiasm, defined goals on the agenda, and an engaging presentation, this will make the meeting seem productive and maybe even enjoyable. In this situation, the main idea could be modified to “leadership is how the way I present myself influences how others present themselves.”

My philosophy is ultimately the backbone for leadership situations. Within the LI, and in general, whether or not we are aware, what we do influences what other people do, and how we do that is how we lead. We can all use this idea to shape whatever person/leader we strive to be, but I hope we use it to be the ethical leaders of today.

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