According to Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, the word “leadership” is defined as a noun meaning “the office or position of a leader.” But in reality, leadership is a way of life that cannot be summed up in such a simple way as this. My personal leadership philosophy consists of the following key points. Anyone can be a leader, but not everyone can lead effectively. Leaders are not born, they are made. They inspire change in themselves and in others. The job of a leader is to inspire their followers to be a fuller version of themselves by living out their passions daily. Through these actions, great leaders are able to inspire other leaders because leadership is meant to be given back.
Anyone can be a leader, but not everyone can lead effectively. A leader is a person who is in a position of leadership, but leadership is the lifestyle that the leader chooses to live. It is because of this that some leaders are effective and some are not. A person may be given a position in which they are required to lead, but if that person does not live the appropriate lifestyle of a leader, are they really a leader? True leadership is given by followers. A person may have all the qualities and be given all the same opportunities as a leader, but if that person does not base his or her leadership style off of the relationship that the leader has with his or her followers and the goals the followers are aiming to achieve, the leader will not be an effective one. They must adapt to the specific relationship found between the leader and the followers. Leadership is founded on respect. This respect has to be a mutual relationship between the leader and the followers because respect for the follower will lead to respect for the leader. A leader is a person, but leadership is how that person lives out their passions in life and interacts with others.
Leaders are made, not born, and because of this, leaders inspire change. Life experiences are capable of changing a person’s behaviors and views over time, and in a similar way, these life experiences are able to develop leaders out of people. For example, early in my softball career, I was thrown out of a game by an umpire because he thought that I was hitting batters on purpose while I was pitching. In reality, I just needed a lot more work on my ball control. After constantly being frustrated with not being where I wanted to be, and knowing that I had so much more potential, I decided to make a change for myself. I became dedicated to improving my softball skills, and along the way I made lasting relationships and learned that many of my frustrations in softball could be compared to difficult real life situations. Through my experiences I developed not only a strong work ethic, but a strong character as well. And my work did not go unnoticed. Soon players, parents, and fans noticed my improvements on and off the field. I began to work with younger girls who shared my love of the game, and now I am proud to say that I have been asked to coach. And although this was never what I had intended, it came as a result of me discovering my passions through my experiences in life and living those passions out by sharing my experience with others. I was not born a great softball player, nor was I born a great leader, but after I found my passions and poured my heart into the work that I was doing, I was able to spark a change, not only in myself, but in those around me as well. Anyone can choose leadership because leadership is a lifestyle, whether on a large or small scale. Because leadership is a choice, leaders are made rather than born.
The job of a leader is to inspire followers to be fuller versions of themselves through living out their passions. Through this, leaders inspire other leaders. In the grand scheme of things, a leader’s passions are his or her motivations. If not, then why do leaders do what they do? If a leader lets his or her passions dominate his or her actions, it will radiate out for everyone else to see. This makes leading by example so easy because leaders will not be concerned with what they are doing or how other people perceive them. Instead, why the leader does what he or she does – the leader’s passions – will be such a tangible factor that it will not be able to go ignored. If a leader is able to inspire others to live out this type of passion in their own lives, the leader has not only helped the followers to discover their own passions, but has given those people the proper tools so that the followers may become leaders to others. Leadership is meant to be given back. In this way, leadership can be taught. This is not so much of a lesson in a classroom as it is a way of life that can be observed, appreciated, followed, applied, and given back to others. If leaders effectively inspire other leaders to inspire change through living out their passions, this cycle should be continuous. And thus, great leaders are made.