Developing Leaders Around You – Three Nuggets of Wisdom

Why Leaders need to Reproduce Other Leaders – The organization’s growth potential is directly related to its personnel potential 

One of the most important roles of a Leader is to help support and create more leaders. If an organization has one person in a leadership role, and this person does not help reproduce other leaders, what will happen when this person leaves? If instead, the leader focuses on making those around them even better leaders than themselves, they ensure that the organization will continue to grow in their absence. This is important to me because I want to make sure that the grade nines now and in the future have the same great experience that I had in TALONS. I want to make sure that they learn and grow and have even more fun than I did in TALONS. If I can teach the grade nines now how to lead, participate and experience the best that they can, then they can teach those after them and so on. If on a TALONS trip, I can use this by sharing and dividing a leadership role with a grade nine. If one of my jobs is to lead a group on a trail with a map, I can partner with a grade nine and have them watch what I’m doing at the front while leading. Even better, I can have them do parts of the leading with the map or make decisions for the groups with little guidance from myself. This way, they can not only learn to lead by watching and hearing, but also by gaining experience themselves.  


Leaders are Big Picture Thinkers 

Leaders must be able to see the big picture when looking at a situation. If a leader is in a situation, they must be able to be calm and collected, be rational and see all the variables before making a decision. To have the ability to pick apart all the small unnecessary details to see to the main issue at hand is the skill of a good leader. This rings true to me because I want to be able to have a clear head when communicating and leading other people through tough and quick decisions. Often, I find myself focusing on a small detail that isn’t important when it comes to the grand scheme of the issue at hand. If I can see and keep the big idea in my head, I can be more productive, efficient and impactful as a leader. On a TALONS trip, I can implement this when making quick and effective decisions outside. Let’s say we were on a hiking trip, and we come to the fork in the trail, one leads a better viewpoint but harder trail, the other straight to our destination, and it is our decision to make. Before I might have started to think about how hard the trail and all the small meaningless details, but with the big picture in mind I can have a clearer vision in my head. I know that the point of the trip is to see the viewpoints with each other, I know that the physique of my group is strong and that we have lots of time. With my head clearer and more focused, I can make executive decision to go see the viewpoint (or make whichever decision fits the big picture the best).  


Work on Yourself Before you Work on Others, Leaders Go First! 

When leading a group, a leader must first have themselves in check. It isn’t healthy or right of someone to present themselves as a role model and preacher-of-good-leadership before they themselves are. It is unfair to yourself and others because you need to be a good leader and person yourself before you can even begin to know how to teach others. If one doesn’t even know themselves, how can they be truthful when teaching others? I personally resonate with this because I want to and try to work on myself not only for the good of myself but others. I want to be able to talk out loud in front of a group before encouraging someone to speak out, I want to have the confidence and communication skills to be able to make good decisions before telling someone to make a group decision. During a TALONS trip, I can use this by moderating the amount of work I share and do. If I am trying to mentor a grade nine student during a hiking trip, I can’t just throw all work towards them now that I have experience. I must be able to give them work to do, but also take opportunities myself to learn and be a leader. Making sure that I am always learning and educating myself no matter how much seniority I have is important no matter the situation. Finding that balance between letting others learn and allowing myself to learn is a good spot to be in.  


Maxwell, J. C. (1995). Developing the Leaders Around You. Thomas Nelson.