Those seeking a career in fields requiring leadership, and those wanting to become successful tend to read as much as they can about leadership. From the books that fill bookstore shelves to the lists on Amazon and Goodreads, there are countless experts offering the perfect guide to becoming a leader. There are many more blogs like mine with a post geared to leadership. The problem is, nothing will make you become a leader except for you. So, I am not going to offer the magic tip because there are plenty of tips that can be magical if they are used. Instead, I am going to provide examples of great leaders, and talk about what I have found to make me a good leader. Am I an expert? No. However, I have found that despite the many things I have read, it took my own inner strength and confidence to become a leader. It was up to me to harness the qualities I had tucked away to push myself forward.
Great Leadership can be seen in the fights for civil liberties in fairly recent history. It was not that long ago that our country was divided by race and gender. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” While Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most prominent figures used to represent the fight for civil justice, there are so many more. From Frederick Douglass, Nelson Mandela, Pearl S, Buck, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, and Ruby Dee we have a rich history of brave men and women willing to stand up against injustice. This is where many great leader are born, from the roots of suffering and inequality. These leaders are driven by passion.
This type of leadership can also be found in the activism for women’s rights. Names like Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Alice Walker, and May Lyon may stand out as women who led others to create a better life for women. Even now, there is still inequality around the world when it comes to race and gender, and people continue to rise and fight for what they believe in. This type of leader is often thrust into it by experience, and it is usually one in which they have seen or felt the the cruelty of inequality. This leader draws from inner strength and conviction.
Our history is also filled with other great leaders who worked in politics, business, or international affairs. Leaders can be seen in people like the parents of Amber Hagerman who helped to create and push legislation to protect kidnapped children after the loss of their own daughter. Their efforts paid off with the AMBER Alert. Leaders are found in many corners of organizations, as public speakers, writers, advocates, doctors, and so much more. Sometimes, they impact a life or two, and sometimes, their words carry on for years, spoken to new generations of leaders. The important thing is that a leader brings their story, their beliefs, their values, and their passion to others in a way to guide and influence them.
It is different for everyone because we are all made up of a distinct story, and we all have various guiding influences. Being a leader is having the ability to embrace these elements of yourself and to share them with others in a way that creates an impact. It means you are true to yourself, genuine, and able to open up your world for others. True leaders understand that humans connect through storytelling. It is the craft that binds us together, and the art that can reach across the divides of race, gender, socioeconomic differences, and any other barrier to find the commonality that is humanity.
Bio. (2014) Famous Civil Rights Activists. Bio. Retrieved From http://www.biography.com/people/groups/activists-civil-rights-activists