In Chapter One, Maxwell talks about the “Law of Magnetism,” which means “Who you are is who you attract.” This means that it takes a strong leader to attract other leaders and help them grow to their full potential. It takes a strong leader to set an example, earn the trust of potential leaders, and properly reproduce leaders. This principle stood out to me because it focuses on a very simple and almost obvious rule, but I think it can easily be overlooked. You cannot lead and attract other leaders without being capable of leading yourself. A few years ago I was doing a group math project for school, and I tried to find the person in our group who would be most willing to do the hardest tasks. I wanted to suggest that they take on that task, which seems like taking initiative by delegating the work when in reality I am challenging others to do something I cannot do myself. Finding and growing other leaders can only be done if you are a leader in the first place. Only then can you lead by example, experiences, and valuable, accurate knowledge. Going forward, I always make sure I am confident in my leadership skills before attempting to seek out other possible leaders.
Different leaders have different thinking styles. Chapter Two touches on the many different mindsets leaders can have. For example, strategic thinkers are strong problem-solvers, and un-selfish thinkers are good communicators and compassionate listeners. This principle is interesting to me because thinking about the different styles of thinking and recognizing them inside myself and the leaders around me have really opened my eyes to what each person brings to the group. I think I am a strong creative, shared, and big picture thinker. If I were to work with someone who is a focused, realistic, and bottom-line thinker, we would each have special skills to contribute, and have a well-rounded dynamic. Recognizing this can lead me to form stronger groups, delegate tasks better suited to each person, and understand the mindset of others. In our future trip planning meetings, I think it might be a good idea to start by recognizing what each of our strengths are, and how they should be put to good use. Additionally, if I am able to identify any of these thinking styles in the Grade 9s, it could help me understand and further develop them as leaders by emphasizing their strengths. A good example of this would be if a Grade 9 is a strong shared thinker, I might suggest that they try leading small meetings, sharing information with the rest of the class, or leading events.
Modelling is one of the 5 steps to turning producers into reproducers. Similar to my chosen point in Chapter One, modelling is a way of teaching by leading examples, experiences, and being confident in the knowledge I have gained. This is more effective than simply telling others what to do, because (as it says in the booklet,) we remember 10% of what we hear, 50% of what we see, 70% of what we say, and 90% of what we hear, see, say, and do. Actually, being able to do what you teach is a lot more difficult and requires more effort but is far more valuable. This concept stood out to me because I’ve recently realized that the reason, I don’t always remember the information I’ve just written down or studied on paper is because the ultimate way of absorbing knowledge is by actively going out and getting experiences. Now, I try to make all of my learning experiences as active as possible. Trying new things and failing is all part of the process, and I will ultimately benefit in the end. When mentoring the Grade 9s, I will make sure to give them advice and lead them only from the information I have gained from my own experiences and mistakes. For example, last year when we were at Hick’s Lake, my food group ended up running out of chicken to make our dinner with thanks to a mix-up of information. We ended up using bread instead, and it was fairly effective. Because of this experience, I’ve learned the consequences of poor communication, and the creativity and teamwork required in problem-solving. This is knowledge I could pass onto potential leaders.
Motivating others is step 4 out of the 5 step process of turning producers into reproducers. Being able to empower learning leaders is a crucial part of boosting their growth and connecting with your team. Your motives must be truly wanting to help others and help them towards success. It is important to evaluate yourself as an empowering leader to see what areas you need to work on to help motivate your group. This principle is important to me because I strongly believe that positive reassurance and small celebrations are necessary for personal growth. It all starts with me, and what I really want for my fellow leaders. After taking the evaluation I now know that I need to work on investing time in developing other leaders and give my influence to others more publicly. Once I am clear in what my goals are for my potential leaders, I need to be able to make connections with my teammates, focus on their individual strengths and weaknesses, and build trust so they are able to recognize certain qualities in themselves. Being able to have my teammates believe in me as well as themselves is a strong step towards growing together. For future trip-planning meetings, I want to be able to connect with my group by communicating effectively, celebrating small victories, and collaborating ideas. Though I doubt that the TALONS community will have trouble becoming a close family in no time.