“Developing the Leaders Around You” by John C. Maxwell
My first concept is that leaders have two characteristics, these being that leaders are going somewhere and that they are able to persuade others to go with them. The first characteristic means that leaders have dreams and places they want to be, as well as goals to help them reach those places. The second means that leaders have the ability to “sell” their dreams to others and convince them that they should try to get there as well and help each other work towards those goals. This concept is important to me because I want to be able to think about and know where I want to go and what I want to achieve, as well as how I can get there. I also want to learn how to motivate others around me to work towards common goals, since not only is motivation an important tool to have, uniting a group strengthens its connections. This concept can apply to TALONS because when we are planning events or trips, all group members must have the same end goal that they work towards so that everyone is on the same page. If someone does have an idea for how to make the project better, they have to be able to share it clearly and in a way that convinces the group to add it to the final vision. Knowing what one wants in life or a specific situation and how to achieve that, as well as the ability to convince people to aid in your journey, are important skills to have to be successful, especially in TALONS, when we all have to work together.
The second concept I chose is “it is easier to teach what is right than to do what is right” (Maxwell & Giant Impact, 2014, 15), which means that only saying or explaining a concept is much easier than applying that concept to your own life and following it, which is fairly difficult. However, you can’t expect anyone you are teaching to listen and follow what you say when you don’t even follow it yourself. This concept is important to me because I want to become more aware of how well I am meeting the standards I set for others so I can be an effective leader and role model. Being aware of this will help me either learn to follow all the standards I set or adjust my standards to be what I can meet or am already meeting. This is a very important concept in TALONS because the grade tens have to teach and set a good example for the grade nines. When planning events and trips, instead of assigning tasks to the grade nines, we have to demonstrate how to do the tasks, and guide them through the process. We also have to ensure that we are doing our own tasks and participating in the planning alongside them to show that we apply the lessons to our own lives. Applying the lessons one teaches to others to their own life is a difficult but valuable demonstration of leadership, because it shows that they understand and believe in the content they are teaching, and in TALONS, it is important for being valuable role models.
The third concept I chose is shared in the book as “self-disclosure, the willingness to share parts of one’s own journey when appropriate and the willingness to be honest” (Maxwell & Giant Impact, 2014, 21), and is very important for the growth of everyone in TALONS. This concept means that when a mentor shares information about themselves, their mentee will feel more comfortable sharing, and this process encourages open communication. I chose this concept because I understand that it is important for mentees to feel comfortable since I have felt hesitant to share before and know how hard it can be. When I was struggling with this last year, I always found it very helpful when a grade ten would share an experience in which they struggled because it made me feel better about my journey and it let me know that I could look to that person for help. This concept is helpful for leadership specifically because the grade tens can share past mistakes with the grade nines so that they can learn from them and improve for this year, and if the grade nines feel comfortable sharing with the grade tens, they will be able to ask for help when they are struggling. Finally, this concept encourages open and honest communication between two parties, and communication and sharing of experiences are essential for building a community within TALONS, which is a very important part of leadership and this program. Self-disclosure strengthens connections and maintains comfort with sharing, which ties in with many of the fundamental goals of TALONS.
Maxwell, J. C., & Giant Impact. (2014). Developing the Leaders Around You. Giant Impact.