June 4, 2012
Leadership’s Lasting Value
It is always amazing what people can accomplish when there is strong leadership to guide them. It is the best leaders that are able to bring out the best in those they lead. These men and women are able to get their followers to stretch themselves and become greater then they had previously thought possible on a personal level as well as a professional level.
“Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness” (Maxwell, 1998. p.1). If a person has a high level of leadership the lid of influence is high and the more potential that person or organization has. On the flip side, the lower the leadership ability one possesses the lower the lid of influence (Maxwell, p.1).
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was able to influence a great deal of people; however, so was Hitler. Tiger Woods’s likeness, and image held quite a bit of influence over the way people purchased items he endorsed until, it came to light that he had been extremely unfaithful to his family.
Leadership is about trust. One can only lead others if those they lead trust them to take them to a better place. Once the leader or person in charge loses the trust of their followers, they will cease to able to truly lead this group again. It is not impossible to regain the trust of the group or organization but it is very difficult to do so. If a group continues to struggle usually a new leader is brought in such as a new C.E.O. or Head Coach. Incredible things can and have happened because of the strong leadership of one person. Often these great accomplishments are achieved by the same people who once thought their current accomplishments were impossible. Lao Tsu who is considered to be the father of Taoism once said:
Go to the people, live with them, learn from them, love them, start with what they know, build with what they have, with the best leaders. When the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say; “We have done this ourselves?” (Lao Tsu, as cited in Normore, Rodriguez & Wynne. 2007. p.653.)
I am a coach for a local high school track & field team. Since our team is so large, we have a Head boy’s Coach and a Head girl’s Coach. I am the Head girl’s Coach. Our boy’s Head Coach (HC) and I have different philosophies when it comes to leading our teams. He is much more of a hard core disciplinarian than I am. He is more inclined to get up in someone’s face and chew them out when they are being a discipline problem (skipping practice, arriving late for no reason, messing around during practice, etc), or when things are not the way he wants them to be (a member of a relay team going on vacation during an important meet week, missing a meet due to a soccer/basketball/volleyball tournament, etc.). He does not yell at the athletes in front of the rest of the team, but he can still be pretty harsh sometimes. His “power” comes from his title instead of actual authority. His athletes listen to him but do not seem to have much respect for what he has to say. While there is definitely a time and a place for aspects of his style of leadership, it is my opinion that he would be much more effective working on developing relationships of trust and an environment of integrity with his athletes. Most kids today respond better to someone who is positive and who they feel has their best interest at heart, than someone who seems to want to get after them all the time.
I am very big on leadership and personal development and believe a great deal in the power of positive and effective leadership. If we want to be successful in reaching out and raising the bar on worldwide humanity it is the little things done well that is probably the greatest secret to success (Wooden & Jamison, 2004, p. 106). Or as the legendary basketball coach John Wooden puts it: “If you do enough little things right, big things can