Nuggets Of Wisdom from John C. Maxwell’s “Developing the Leaders Around You”
Hello! Today I will be discussing a few “nuggets of wisdom” from the leadership course “Developing the Leaders Around You” and the ways they apply to me/T.A.L.O.N.S. leadership planning. Enjoy!
The first nugget of wisdom I will be talking about today is the following: “[There are] two types of leaders: the travel agent sends people to their destination. The tour guide takes people to their destination.” This metaphor uses the idea of a travel agent (somebody who books you a vacation often with no knowledge of the place or insight) and a tour guide (somebody who accompanies you on a journey and knows the place inside out, often using special insight and personal memories to help flesh out the experience) to explain two opposing ways to lead a team. You can either send people on their way with no sense of direction and expect them to accomplish a task, or you can use the sum of your experiences and wisdom to truly assist people in reaching their goals. This is an important distinction for me because I always want to lead in a committed manner, passing down my knowledge and experiences to help others thrive. I should always lead in areas where I feel I have the necessary skills to equip others to work at my level or even surpass me. A T.A.L.O.N.S.-related example would be teaching the Grade 9 students how we write formal emails to companies, I don’t just want to leave them with an overview of the task and a past example, as this is a case where that would be frustrating and confusing. I want to be available to help answer questions, give advice based on my past experiences with the task, help them understand the significance of why they should write these emails this way, and never leave them in the dark.
The second nugget of wisdom is the idea that most leaders are simply “Position” leaders. This is a term from John C. Maxwell’s Five Levels Of Leadership concept, which outlines five “levels” of leadership based on the reason why people follow you. To be a “Position Leader”, you are somebody that people follow because they have to. You cannot grow other leaders and your influence only extends to your job description. This is important to me because it helped me understand why I find a lot of authority figures to be frustrating and disappointing. They’re doing something because it’s their job, and people are following them because they have to, but there is no trust, respect, or mutual satisfaction about results. I find this important to my time in T.A.L.O.N.S. for a similar reason to the abovementioned nugget of wisdom; I never want people to follow me because they have to, I want people to follow me because I have helped them grow into the best person they can be and equipped them with important skills. This is the “People Development” level of leadership (and in order to achieve it I must be a ‘tour guide’ leader). If I help develop the T.A.L.O.N.S. 9s into good leaders, and lead beyond being a Position leader, I can help them and the program achieve more long-term leadership growth.
The final nugget of wisdom I will be discussing today is the quote “It’s wonderful when people believe in leaders. It’s more wonderful when leaders believe in people.”. A part of a section describing why it’s important to empower those you lead in order to motivate them, I find this whole section profound. As the other concepts I have discussed today touch on, leadership is often about selflessness, and it is very important to think about not just being respected and believed in by those you lead, but respecting them and believing in them in return. Everybody has potential, and in order to be an effective leader, you must look for and harness it. This is important to me because my earlier paragraphs discussed what I can do to help leaders blossom, and this one talks about another core reason why I must do so: because people have potential. I have learned from personal experience this is the most meaningful way to motivate people to go beyond their tasks and even develop themselves. My T.A.L.O.N.S. peers have a lot to offer, and in Leadership planning sessions, I must always remind those I am mentoring that I believe in them as the future of this program and our team. I must keep this in mind so I can motivate them and truly help those around me develop.
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Thank you for reading and have a great rest of your day!