Today I want to take a brief moment to address the issue of leadership and teamwork, and the importance it plays not only in your academic career, but throughout life. Leadership first and foremost should not be seen as a position of ultimate dominance, but rather a position of ultimate service. Through leadership it is your duty to serve those whom you lead. Intertwined in the ability to lead, must be your commitment to invest in those around you, and to build a strong team of individuals in order to accomplish any task set before you. A true leader knows the value and the necessity of teamwork, without which, no one would be successful.
All the greatest accomplishments in life may be attributed to team work. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) cannot launch a space shuttle without team work; a builder cannot construct a building without teamwork. Every situation in life demands that we work in teams. Your ability to succeed is dependent upon the success of a team. Your classroom is a team. Your success in the classroom is dependent upon the teacher and the student realizing the value and need to work together in order to receive a passing grade. The teacher must understand what method of teaching is most effective in reaching the class, in order to allow the class to reach their best potential.
A commitment to leadership and teamwork means that we must be willing to subordinate our personal goals for the good of the team. This is recognized as one of the 17 indisputable laws of teamwork as outlined by John C. Maxwell. Being a leader and a team builder should never become a selfish task, the moment you think that leadership is all about you, is the moment you will fail as a leader. A leader must sacrifice his or her, own agenda for that which makes the team the most effective. Maxwell says it best when he stipulates that a team isn’t supposed to be a bunch of people being used as a tool by one individual for selfish gain. Members of a team must have mutually beneficial shared goals. They must be motivated to work together, not manipulated by someone for individual glory. Anyone who is accustomed to pulling together people and using them to benefit only himself isn’t a team builder; he’s a dictator.
Personally, I see leadership and teamwork as taking the time to invest in others. Early in my career I realized that the most beneficial feeling in the world is in knowing that I made someone’s life a little better, because I participated in it. Our world is already filled with many people dictating to others what they need to do, but how many times do we pause for a moment to realize that in accomplishing any task we must be inclusive and not exclusive? Our own talent must be molded into the activities of those we attempt to lead?
When we choose to invest in others, we can only progress. Do not for any moment think that in order to lead, you must have a title. Leadership is personal; it’s about how we accomplish the tasks set before us that demonstrate our leadership ability. Do we step up to the plate when things need to get done, do we learn to take the blame for our own mistakes rather than pass it on to others? When we reach that point, we become leaders. I cannot stress enough the importance of investing in others, let us today pledge to invest more than we ever have before. How many times do we say thank you to those without whose help we could never succeed? How often do we realize the value of those we encounter on a daily basis? Have you ever taken the time to say thanks to the janitors you pass in the hall way, to say thanks to the cashier who scanned your groceries, to say thanks to the persons who sweep our streets, or do we take these things for granted? We are above no one, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner our leadership abilities shine.
Learn to shine when others don’t, learn to shine in any position you serve, pledge to become the best in everything you do. If you sweep the streets, become the best street sweeper you can ever be. If you work in corporate America become the best corporate business employee you can ever be. In life it is often those who we think are less than us that are the best leaders we may ever know. Many of you may be first generation students, your academic accomplishments thus far may be more than your parents were ever able to achieve, but are they less than you because of that? No, they become even greater, why? They lead you to where you are today, they made sacrifices in the past to ensure that you would have the option of attending college one day, they worked those late night shifts just so you could have food on the table, if you ask me, they are the biggest heroes we may ever know.
Our teachers commit to the classroom for salaries that are way less than what as a nation we invest in movie stars and sporting conglomerates, yet if it were not for them, we would not have the skills necessary to fulfill the demands of our ever expanding global economy. As leaders learn to say thanks to these people who contribute the most to our lives. Leaders don’t take things for granted, leaders realize the importance of every individual in every aspect of life, and in every aspect of the goals we are working to achieve.
So what is leadership? Leadership is investment in others, leadership is a commitment towards a goal, leadership is commitment towards teamwork, and leadership is making mistakes and taking responsibility for them. Leadership is recognizing the importance of the goal and limiting the glory of self. A true leader is no doubt a true servant. Let us go from here today and pledge to become true servants to those around us. We may start by the simplest of all actions, say thanks, open doors, and help a complete stranger just because. Call your parents and tell them you love them just because, send a thank you note to that teacher who has inspired you the most, just because, say I love you to others around you, and don’t assume that your actions speak loud enough, say it, just because.
As leaders it is important to cultivate an attitude of appreciation, when we do this we build ourselves and we enhance the lives of those around us.
“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.”
The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”
We get people from where they are, by encouraging them; we elicit greatness by complimenting achievements. Step forward today and be an encouragement to others.
© Dimitri Lyon and dimitrilyon.wordpress.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dimitri Lyon and dimitrilyon.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.