Leadership in the Community

From “Developing the Leaders Around You” by John C Maxwell, I learned many key ideas about leadership and the different aspects of helping others grow their own leadership. I chose three of them to write about in this blog post.


Concept 1

“The Tour Guide takes people to their destination” (John Maxwell, 1995).

One of the many things Maxwell talked about was the ‘Tour Guide’ concept. He stated that there were two different types of leaders, the travel agent and the tour guide. Essentially, a leader that tells you what to do and watches you do it versus a leader that shows you what to do and helps you do it, taking their mentee along with them on their learning journey.

To me, that means that while you’re helping someone figure out their journey, you might as well go through it with them once more. Even though you’ve been there before, and you know what’s going to happen, there’s no harm in doing it again. I think of it almost like re-watching a movie you enjoy; although you know the ending and the plot, you still like watching it. Every time there’s something new you see that you’ve never noticed before.

During trip planning, it’s a process that requires all available hands and brains. Although it could be easier to just tell the grade nines what to do and leave it alone, I enjoy working alongside them much more. It’s really fulfilling to be part of the process and see everyone coming and working together. Especially since the upcoming trips will be overnight trips and require much more planning, the grade tens must help. It’ll be new to us as well, and we’ll be learning alongside the nines even as we try to mentor them.


Concept 2

“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power’ (Lao Tzu, unknown).

The second idea I chose to write about was that to be a good leader, you should work on yourself and your skills first before you lead others. Maxwell states that everything starts with the leader, whether that be making decisions or leading by example. The same applies to self-improvement; no one can truly change you except yourself.

This is something I work on constantly; in TALONS, my main focus is to work on my own leadership skills while helping develop others. Because I’m still learning and growing, often the mentorship I provide others may not be as steady and sure as it would be if I had many years of experience. However, the more that I lead others, the more I’d be improving my own leadership capabilities.

When you try to improve your leadership, it may not be so obvious to others; but the most important part of it is that you’re consciously trying to improve. I always think about my leadership and how I can help the others around me, learning from my experiences as I go. At the beginning of the year planning the day trips, I could barely lead the people around me as I was also figuring everything out myself. However, near the end, I took more initiative as I was more confident in what I was doing. By the time the spring adventure trip planning comes, I hope that I’ll be a reliable mentor for the peers in my group.


Concept 3

“Surround yourself only with people who are going to take you higher” (Oprah Winfrey, 2011).

My last concept is an idea from session 1, stating that “those closest to the leader will determine the success of the leader”.  I took this to mean that if you surround yourself with others that are as or more successful as you (in any area), it challenges you to grow yourself and get closer to your fullest potential. It will do the same to them as well, and you will see, as a group, the development and change over time. It’s like joining a ski class; there are different class levels because a skier that can go on black runs learning alongside skiers that are just starting on green runs won’t learn as much as if they were in a class full of other advanced skiers. It can apply to almost every other sport, workplace, and more. This idea resonated with me because it’s one of the main reasons I joined TALONS. I wanted to be in a class full of like-minded people that challenged me every day to grow and better my learning. Going through my last year in this program, I hope to make the same change and impact on the grade nines below me as the class before had had on me and my peers. So far, the biggest impression the grade nines have left on me is how confident they are, and how eager they are to participate and learn. Already, they’ve taken initiative in planning and are more than capable of the tasks they are given. Their enthusiasm challenges me to take more responsibility to help them grow their skills and capability in leadership.


To learn more about John Maxwell and his works, you can see his website here.

Works Cited

Maxwell, John. Developing the Leaders Around You. HarperCollins, 2013.





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