What Makes a Leader?

I have been writing this post in my head for a few weeks. Every time I thought I had it ready, I would notice something that would make me rethink leadership. What is a leader? Is it someone that tells everyone what to do? Someone who has to make all the decisions? Maybe it is someone who knows more than anyone else in the group. This summer, I read The Leader in Me by Stephen Covey, so I know the traits of a leader and how to foster those traits in children and adults. I am on our campus Instructional Leadership Team and the Operational Leadership Team, so I am often faced with leadership tasks. Still, the question left me perplexed.

The answer came to me in the form of a lost child. I was sitting in the library waiting for my next group when the child came in looking for her class. She had been at the nurse’s office, and when she got back to class, her teacher and classmates were gone. This child could have gone to another teacher, the counselor, or the office–all of which she passed on the way to the library. Instead, she found me because she trusted me. That is when it hit me–being a leader means many things, but none of those things mean anything without trust.

I started thinking back to principals and bosses that I have had in the past. If I trusted them, I would do anything they asked without question. If I did not trust them, I would analyze and scrutinize every request. It has nothing to do with liking or not liking someone, but everything to do with whether or not I trust them to be in control of the situation, and know that if they are asking me to do something, it must be for the greater good.

As a leader on my campus, I want to be someone everyone can trust. I want to be the one they know they can turn to when they have a question or a problem. Even though I will not always have the answer, I can usually find the person who does. This type of leadership feeds my need to be a “very useful engine,” and allows me to be the type of leader I would be willing to follow.

2 thoughts on “What Makes a Leader?

  1. This resounded with me after spending the day at our alternative learning center off of the main high school campus and I heard several times from the students, who I had only met that day, that they trusted me, to recommend some great books for their project. I agree and enjoyed hearing those words.

  2. It a job that is all about relationships, this couldn’t be more true! Students will do anything for you if they know you care about them, they trust that you care about them. The same is true with adults! With people we trust to help us, we will try and move mountains! Great Point!

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