Being a grade 10 in the TALONS program has given me the responsibility to step in the shoes of the former seniors of the program and to take on the role of a mentor. As a result, learning to develop the leaders around me has been a recurring theme over the past two months, and John C. Maxwell’s leadership course has been very beneficial to my journey of reproducing leaders.
1. The organization’s growth potential is directly related to its personal potential
As one of the first concepts that Maxwell presented, this principle has helped me realize that developed leaders are the only appreciable asset of any organization, because it is the people who determine the success of the organization, not the organization that determines the success of the people. Thus, in order to maximize success and multiply the growth of an organization, one must first focus on growing the team members into effective leaders. When a group of developed leaders work together, they are able to increase their effectiveness exponentially because one can always go higher and achieve more with others than they can alone.
Although I have always expressed that it is the people in the TALONS program that have made the experience so special for me, I have never thought of the impact I could have on those around me. I never considered the extent to which my peers and I can learn from each other to grow as leaders. Now that I am more aware of the correlation between the growth potential of the organization or program and the individuals within it, I am inspired to help my peers develop their leadership potential. Because of this, I wish to further explore this principle and intentionally apply it to my interactions with those around me. For instance, when I am planning future leadership activities, trips, and events, I will be more cognizant of giving everyone equal opportunities to lead, challenging them to take risks as a learner, and providing valuable feedback and constructive criticism to help them grow as leaders.
2. Leaders have the ability to make things happen
John C. Maxwell refers to good leaders as momentum makers because they say and do things that start momentum. They not only have the talent to succeed, but also have the attitude to do their best. They are able to go above and beyond and their passion prompts them to work effectively and complete tasks regardless of whether someone in a higher position of power asks them to or not. Maxwell explains that this ability starts with the individual, because “if you can’t make things happen for yourself, you are never going to make things happen for someone else.”
Because my personal leadership style is more quiet, I often find myself struggling to maintain the delicate balance of wanting to contribute without constantly being the center of attention and making sure that I am not settling in my comfort zone. Thus, the concept “leaders have the ability to make things happen” is a crucial reminder for me to continue to challenge myself to grow as a leader and to drive action whenever I can. Just because I am a more quiet leader doesn’t mean that I can’t push myself to become more comfortable with being more outspoken. I want to integrate this principle into planning future leadership activities, trips, and events by volunteering for leadership roles more often, focusing on improving my own leadership skills, sharing more of my ideas, thoughts, and concerns, and encouraging the ideas and actions of others to accelerate momentum.
3. It’s easier to teach what is right than to do what is right
This concept states that just teaching what is right isn’t enough; in order for one’s mentees to completely understand how they can grow as leaders, the mentor must do and live by whatever they are preaching, because no matter what you teach, others will follow what you do. Moreover, when a leader’s actions adhere to their words, the result is clarity, but, if a leader’s actions contradict their words, the result is confusion. John C. Maxwell further explains this concept by comparing it to travel agents and tour guides. He says that while “travel agent” leaders tell others what to do without the experience and willingness to do the task themselves, “tour guide” leaders have a plethora of experience and personal anecdotes that they are willing to share with others, while also accompanying others through the journey time and time again.
I chose to share this concept because it is one that I wholeheartedly agree with. I have been trying to incorporate more action and modelling in my leadership for a long time, and I have definitely noticed that others are more likely to follow my advice if I myself am following the advice that I am giving. As I am planning future leadership activities, trips, and events, I will ensure that I work on my personal understanding of the process before teaching it to others, I will be open about my knowledge and experience, I will check in with my mentees frequently, and I will express my willingness to do a task again with someone to lead them through the process.
4. Equipped person equips others
An equipped person needs to equip others because an organization or a program cannot be successful if a leader does not develop successors to follow their own footsteps and potentially even rise higher than they themselves were able to during their own career. Rather than simply being a producer, good leaders are reproducers because they truly want others to succeed and celebrate the achievements of the people around them. A good leader does not rely on the gap of talent or growth between themselves and their mentees to feel secure, because they don’t have fear of potential competition. Instead, they want to train and mentor as many potential leaders as possible in order to make an impact together.
This concept resonates particularly deeply with me because, although I truly love to help others grow and watch them succeed, I am still working on improving my skills as a mentor. Currently, I am not constantly looking for potential mentees and only find myself mentoring others when the opportunity presents itself. This is because I don’t enjoy telling others what to do or how to do tasks for fear of seeming overly controlling, and often try to avoid confrontation or critiquing others excessively. However, over the next few months, as I am planning future leadership activities, trips, and events, I want to challenge myself to also create opportunities where I can equip others. I will remind myself that helping others grow is not equivalent to being in charge of someone, I will consciously invest time to help people reach their leadership potential, and I will help others help themselves.