Developing the Leaders Around You

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Letter from Anita

Over this past week, our class has been learning about developing the leaders around us through a training course by John C. Maxwell. Please find below three nuggets of wisdom that I leaned from this valuable course that I chose to write about!

Your friend,


#1: Be an Unselfish Thinker

In session two, John Maxwell went over the ten kinds of ‘thinkers’ leaders are. I resonated with many of the points that were brought up in this part of the training, and the one that resonated with me the most was the tenth one: leaders are unselfish thinkers. The quote by Jack Balousek that accompanies this statement rang a bell for me: “Learn—Earn—Return. These are the three phases of life.”  It means that one must not think only for oneself—in the beginning, a leader learns, then they earn recognition or they ‘reap the rewards,’ and finally the leader must pass their knowledge and experiences on and help those around them to develop into even better leaders. This is important to me because in the past/for a period in middle school, I struggled with understanding the ‘why’ or ‘the point’ of continuing anything. My parents helped me grapple with this question of why I should keep going and the answer I have learned is to help and give to others. In other words, I was thinking only about myself and my existence—I was being selfish—and until then, I had not realized that I was missing out on helping others and being unselfish. Therefore, when John Maxwell talked about this, I decided that being an unselfish thinker as a leader is important to me; I must continue working on thinking about others rather than just myself. Accordingly, I will apply this idea/nugget of being an unselfish thinker to my leadership during upcoming leadership project/trip planning by prioritizing the needs and wants of others/my team over my own. For example, while I am picking a place to stop on the trip I am leading/planning, I may ask my team what they think is important and what they value and take that into account over what I myself want. Without a doubt, being an unselfish thinker is one of the most important and most door-opening actions one can implement with their leadership and their life to understand why they are doing what they are doing and to develop those around them.

#2: Be a Momentum Maker (not a Momentum Breaker, Taker, or Faker)

The second nugget of wisdom I learned that I chose to discuss in this blog post is that there are four types of people who affect momentum. The first type is Momentum Breakers, people who stop momentum; the second is Momentum Takers, people who sap/slowly drain momentum; the third is Momentum Fakers, who stage momentum even though there is not any; and finally, there are Momentum Makers, who start momentum. The first three types of people are unpleasant to have on the team. For instance, I knew people in middle school especially who were not momentum makers, and it was extremely frustrating and unpleasant to work with them on projects. This means they might not be potential leaders, or that at least they would have to work on this aspect of their leadership. Similarly, I too need to watch out that I am not a momentum breaker, taker, or faker either and ensure that I say and take actions that start momentum. Therefore, as a leader, I must ensure I am a Momentum Maker and remain aware of this while developing the leaders around me. I can do this during leadership project/trip planning by watching what I say and do all the time to reflect only an attitude of starting momentum with the team. For example, while planning leadership projects, I might start momentum by starting a discussion of asking everybody for their ideas. In short, I want to be a Momentum Maker because that is a way to be a great leader and I can model this to the team members and other leaders around me.

#3: Say and Do the Same

The final nugget of wisdom I chose is to live what I teach/say. The reason one should do what is right in addition to teaching what is right while modeling is that “when what I do and say is the same, the result is clarity” (Maxwell, 2014, p.15). On the other hand, “when what I do and what I say is different, the result is confusion” (Maxwell, 2014, p.15). Thus, it is very important that, as a leader and role model, I only teach or talk about what I have done before, that I be a Tour Guide (and take people to my destination) rather than a Travel Agent (who sends people to places where they have never been themselves). Thus, it is very important that, as a leader and role model, I only teach or talk about what I have done before, that I be a Tour Guide (and take people to my destination) rather than a Travel Agent (who sends people to destinations where they have never been themselves) as much as possible. This applies to me especially since I am thinking of becoming a leader with the role of a teacher/other similar role in my future. Additionally, I can apply this nugget while planning leadership projects/trips by telling others about activities I have done before. However, if I am talking about an action that I have not done before, I will point out that I have not done it before and stress that the idea requires further research. For example, while planning a trip destination, I may have ideas of how camping works (because of how my family travelled in National Parks in North America) that I choose to share. That would be an instance of ‘teaching’ what I have done. On the other hand, if I want to share an idea for the trip destination, I might draw my ideas from experiences that are not mine and I would have to point out the fact that I have not been to those places before. Ultimately, it is important to remember that a leader will lose credibility, leadership, connection, and respect if what they say and do is different.


Maxwell, J. C. (2014). Developing the leaders around you: Participant guide. The John Maxwell Company.


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