Developing the Leaders Around You

Section 1

“Leadership is seeing the possibilities in a situation where others are seeing the limitations”

This principle is an especially important one.  While being a leader, you are no doubt going to have to steer your teammates through many ups and downs, and as much as having proper leadership techniques does make everything run smoothly, you’re bound to run into a problem every now and then.  That is why this principle is so important: if you’re guiding your group through a rough patch, you must have the ability to look for solutions and new possibilities.  If you’re constantly negative and aren’t willing to look for the solution to a challenge, then your group won’t be able to solve or push past anything.

This principle stood out to me, because recently I’ve been finding it a little hard to see the bright side or be positive, and I don’t want this to impact my ability to lead.  For this reason, I think that it’s really important that I learn to inspire others more and look for solutions to any problems my group might experience instead of dwelling on a setback or problem.

With everything that’s happened this year with the global pandemic, problem-solving and finding creative solutions to setbacks has been more important than ever.  Starting from March of last year, my class experienced a lot of cancellations of TALONS trips, and even at the beginning of this year there were still several setbacks that postponed/hindered the three day trips we went on (Burnaby Mountain, Burnaby Lake, canoe certification).  For that reason, I will apply this principle during the planning of future TALONS adventure trips and cultural events, where I probably will end up having to come up with creative solutions if more restrictions are applied.

Section 2

“Leadership is influence”

Leadership is influence means exactly what it says – leaders influence other people.  When leaders are in charge of a group of people, what they say and how they act will impact how the group performs – members of the group are bound to pick up on or replicate at least some of the leader’s behaviors and strategies.  It is almost human nature to mimic or match the traits of people they admire (for example, a lot of younger kids often share the same views as their parents because they might admire their parents and are therefore influenced by them).  Leaders can influence others either negatively or positively.  If group members notice a trait that they like in a leader, they will more than likely pick up on that trait.  Similarly, if group members see their leader doing something negative, they will be more willing to do something negative too since their leader is doing it.

I chose to cover this principle simply because I think it’s one of the most important principles throughout the entire book.  Your influence on your group members literally impacts the performance and success rate of your group.  Whenever I am given a leadership opportunity (volunteering, presenting a lesson, planning TALONS events), I always try my best to put my best self forward so that I have a good influence on others.

I could use this concept for any situation where I have to take on more of a mentoring style of leadership.  For me personally, this includes the tutoring sessions I’ll be volunteering for, and whenever I have to direct the group for upcoming adventure trips/cultural events.

Section 3

“It is easier to teach what is right than to do what is right”

Hypocrisy is common among many people, and this concept certainly touches on that.  Often times, leaders will preach perfection, and might even expect the people they lead to be great at everything, when they themselves aren’t at that level either.  For a personal example, I often tell others that if they’re struggling with completing a certain task then they should ask for help, when I struggle to ask for help myself.  This concept also ties into the principle from Section Two: if you aren’t demonstrating what you preach, then you aren’t really doing a good job of influencing your mentees to do the same.  This principle is not trying to say that you have to be perfect to preach perfection, but it does mean that leaders should be aware of and disclose their own personal struggles and do their best to model what being a good leader/team member looks like.

I chose to cover this concept, because as I mentioned above, I also need to work on actually doing some of the concepts that I teach.  Like I’ve said before, I am confident that most people also struggle with this.  As a developing leader, I want to make sure that I am consistent and that I’m always doing a good job of demonstrating the good work habits I preach.

A scenario in which I will be able to apply this teaching will definitely be the leadership lesson I’m teaching (Maps and Compasses).  Much of my group’s lesson talks about the importance of  bringing a map on a trip, making sure the map is accurate, and also keeping the map at an accessible location while travelling, so I should demonstrate what I teach during future adventure trips by having good habits with my map.

Section 4

“Self disclosure: willingness to share parts of one’s own journey when appropriate and the willingness to be honest”

As a leader, honesty is always the best policy.  This principle is instrumental in discussing the importance of being an honest leader, as well as being more personal with your group members.  If you’re constantly holding the people you’re working at arm’s length, how are they going to be able to trust you and open up to you if they have a problem?  If leaders open up more about their personal journey and are honest with their mentees, then they will more than likely find that their mentees are also going to open up more.  If one doesn’t open up about their own perfections, then there will be a possibility that their mentees will hold themselves to an impossibly high standard, which is possibly damaging for both the individual, as well as the group.

Personally, I occasionally put up an “all business” front whenever I’m working with a group, so I think that it is crucial for me to keep this principle in mind.  While getting everything done efficiently is always a top priority, if I don’t open up more personally to my group members, my group will never have any growth or development, and we won’t develop a very close bond.  By choosing to analyze this principle, I am also setting a goal for myself to have more self-disclosure while working in groups.

I can apply this concept during committee work when planning adventure trips.  If I am more open about my struggles, then my group will have a much clearer idea of our strengths and weaknesses, and we will also have a closer bond that will make the planning process a lot easier.



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