Tuesday, August 15


It and variants on it came up a lot on college scholarship applications. What do you think makes a good leader? What is the ideal leader? How do you consider yourself a good leader? A poor one? In many respects, high school tried to prepare me for these. There were leadership conferences and seminars and a whole pile of ways you could act in a position of authority. There was student government, class officers and club positions.

Mostly I wrote trash for those particular essays. They were insipid and mostly regurgitated whatever it was that I had heard in those training sessions. It showed. I don't think I ended up with any scholarships with 'leadership' in the title.

However, I think I have a handle on what leadership is all about now. Leaders are simply the ones who make a decision and go through with it, even the most petty things. There have been times when I was with the cross-country team or friends or whatever, and we'd be trying to decide on something. What movie to watch, where to go to eat, what to do next, whatever. People would be willing to throw out all sorts of suggestions, but it would take forever to get anyone to act on them. I guess people are afraid of stepping on the toes of others. They don't want to seem as though they're imposing their preferences and whatnot on others when they can't see any quantitative difference. That's when the leaders appear. They would say, "Let's do this," and we would follow them. They realize that no decision is going to please everyone the same amount and do the best with what they know and are willing to live with whatever consequences, small as they may be in the above mentioned cases. That's all leadership is, the willingness to make a decision and see it carried out. Good leaders are the ones that make the right decision and are ready to make changes as the need arises.

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