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Worthy Leadership

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As parents and professional adults, we must recognize that today's students will grow up to be tomorrow's social, business, and political leaders, therefore, we must help them to develop the necessary skills of leadership.. Does there need to be a basic level of leadership ability within every person? Yes, because even if a person does not lead others, he or she must lead him or herself.

It is common to think of a leader as someone who is very verbal, outgoing, and visible, makes their opinions known, and has plenty of them! But, leaders can be quiet people, too. In fact, some people will be more inclined to follow the strong, quiet types who lead by example, rather than by words.

Some people are "born" leaders and some have follower tendencies due to innate personality characteristics.

What is leadership? Leadership is defined as one's ability to guide, direct, or influence people. To provide a more encompassing definition of true leadership, however, Grahek, Phillips, & Thompson (2008) refer to "worthy" leadership. The word worthy is defined as having adequate or great merit, character, or value. Therefore, worthy leadership is the ability to guide, direct, or influence people in a way that has great merit, character, and value.

In WORTHY LEADERSHIP a person or organization must have the capacity to lead, the commitment to lead, and the character to lead.

So, how can we help young people to develop worthy leadership skills? A good first step is to teach them that the highest courage they can have is to dare themselves to be true to who they are in the face of adversity and challenges by life and others. Choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience, and truth over popularity are the choices that will add up, define who they are, and measure their life. Remind them that it is important for all of us to live a life of integrity without regret and looking back because there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.

Following are a few other points to teach young people about leadership.

THE POWER OF A LEADER: True leaders are not those who strive to be first but those who are first to strive and do all possible to contribute to the success of the team of which they are a member. True leaders are first to see a need, envision the plan to answer the need, and empower the team to action. Because of the intensity of a leader's commitment to the task at hand or principle employed, the power of those others involved can be catapulted into action.

THE ESSENCE OF LEADERSHIP: A true leader has the confidence to stand and act alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He or she does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality and integrity of his or her actions and intent. Leaders are a lot like eagles in that they do not flock together, rather are likely found one at a time.

THE ESSENCE OF CHARACTER: A person's true character is usually revealed by the clarity of his or her convictions, the choices made and the promises kept. By holding strong to one's principles and refusal to follow the path of convenience, the essence of a person's character can be evidenced! Both what one says and does defines who that person is, and who they are...they are forever.

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