Connections: Leaders and Followers
Ultimately, the highest form of leadership “connects leaders and followers in common purpose,” many times creating change in a way of doing things, or advancement in a new product, that isn’t working, or has not met the basic needs and wants of people. Truly authentic leadership encompasses the following values and behaviors:
Articulates a vision rising above personal ambition
Energizes people and empowers them to act
Brings about changes by transforming society and leaders themselves
Implies that real change will take place
Is goal oriented
Is morally purposeful
Is not narrow or selfish
Takes the initiative
Developing leadership, in one’s self and in others, involves two basic elements. First, role models who can guide and inspire by example, and second, the freedom to explore the possibilities. A role model is someone who passionately stands for something of value and then acts according to the intentions of their words, values and beliefs. But it is particularly our actions, which speak louder than words and make a leader stand out in the crowd. How many people talk about leadership, but never do leadership? Leadership is about walking the talk.
As role models and change agents we need to model the behaviors that empower children, strengthen families and teach socially constructive values. This means building healthy relationships and communicating positively. As role models we need to keep moving forward so that those following us see that real change is possible. We need to value and cultivate children as leaders, those growing into the role of leader, viewing their achievements and encouraging their behavior. Fostering this autonomy and risk-taking is not only investing in the future; it is investing in the personal and social development of children while increasing the worth of each child as highly unique and valuable.