Developing The Leaders Around You
Nugget #1: (Be the tour guide type of leader)
Maxwell explains leaders as there being two types. The travel agent and the tour guide. When being a leader, you want to be the tour guide. This means you want to be the person who is experienced with the specific area you are leading and have a personal connection. Having this experience and connection, allows you to connect with the people you are leading and share your personal connections. This also allows for the followers to bond on a more personal level as well. The travel agent on the other hand will send off the people following them to their destination or to their goal without really knowing about it themselves. They may have lots of info about the goal that the people want to accomplish, but they have never experienced it themselves, affecting the personal connection. This is important to me because I want to be able to connect with the people, I am leading and help them learn from my mistakes. This can apply to future trips when I must lead a committee for example. I don’t want to just send off the people I am leading but guide them to their success. So, if I was on the forms committee, I wouldn’t hand a grade nine a form and tell them to complete it. Instead, I would sit next to them and guide them to the completion while giving them tips from my experience completing the same forms from a past trip. I believe that having this personal connection is essential to making a trip successful and efficient.
Nugget #2: (Work on yourself before you work on others. Leaders go first!)
Number three of Maxwell’s five steps to modelling is “working on yourself first before working on others”. When leading, you must make sure you are taken care of first. If you aren’t taken care of, then the leaders you will be creating won’t be able to get up to their potential. This step really connects to the fourth step as well which states “Work on yourself more than you work on others”. All the challenges you face as a leader usually stem from you. However, this also means that all the leadership changes you can make to conquer these challenges also start with you. So, by working on yourself you won’t just improve your leadership skills and how you are leading people, but it can also help them grow as leaders. This is important to me because I have had a struggle with this. I always want to help other people grow, but in that process, I end up neglecting my own growth. However, since learning this from Maxwell, I have realized that I need to start working on myself and this will help me later. This applies to future trips more in the planning rather than during the trip. For example, if I was planning a canoe trip, in advance to planning it, I would practice my own leadership skills and ask a teacher for help in how I could improve. By doing some preparation before, I would be able to have an easier time leading the grade nines and allow me to help them grow to their potential even more than if I hadn’t prepared.
Nugget #3: (Leaders are… Creative thinkers)
One of the traits Maxwell says is necessary for a leader to have is being a creative thinker. He believes that “No matter what you are currently able to do, creativity can make you capable of more.” and I think he is completely right. Being a creative thinker allows you to have the essential element of creating options for yourself when you think you are at a dead end. This is important to me because I have been in many situations where I think there are no options, but the person leading me is able to think of options that would have never come to mind. I have found that I have been more on the creative thinking side since I was little, so I have a bit of an advantage over most in this area. This can apply to future trips not only during the actual trip but also during the planning. For example, if the organization we are using to provide our equipment such as canoes decides to flake out on us, as a leader I would have to use my creative thinking to think of alternate options. This could range from finding a similar company to provide the same as the last to completely changing the trip plans. It can also apply to while we are on the trip, like if someone pops a tire on a biking trip and they don’t have a patch kit. I could use creative thinking and use a replacement material instead so we can continue the trip. Overall, I think that creative thinking is quite important to create an experience everyone enjoys.
Want to learn more about John C. Maxwell? Click here.
Maxwell, J. C. (1995). Developing the Leaders Around You. Thomas Nelson.