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Communicating as a Leader

Finding Leaders in the Darndest Places

Stuart McConnell asked:

Some of our greatest leaders were swindlers and thieves. Why aren’t today’s youth given the same chance?

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”~ John Quincy Adams

As I sit to write this article I find myself being reminded of a young lady (though she would never call herself that) whom I know. She’s a classic anti-leader. In fact, her leadership qualities are so strong that she could easily be the next Pierre Elliot Trudeau if she so desired.

It’s wonderful when you have a group of students come forward and volunteer for leadership roles in your school. It’s great to see them express their ‘type A’ personalities in such a positive way. However, they always tend to be from one or two social groups and don’t represent a good cross section of the school population.

There are leaders among every group of students. Think of it this way, someone has to make the decision of what to do Saturday night when everyone else is sitting on the fence saying “I dunno, I’ll do whatever man.” For various reasons, these students will not take on formalized leadership roles in their schools, perhaps they don’t feel they are good enough, they don’t know anyone else in ‘that circle’, or they just don’t see themselves as a leader.

These are the students who need to be cultivated because they have the unique ability to influence their peers. They see the school with its social and political hierarchy in a different way; and, if you’re lucky, they will tell you their views. These are the students who, when taught to communicate effectively and develop their leadership skills, can bring about massive change – if you let them. These are the anti-leaders. I use this term because their ideas usually are outside of the mainstream. They are ‘painted with a different brush’ and not typically considered leaders. But it is their ideas that have the seeds to radical change and they are the ones who will truly make a difference – not only in your school but in our world.

Let’s have some fun by comparing the qualities of a drug dealer and those of a gang leader with those of a student leader. Drug dealers and gang leaders may be extreme examples, but they are the most powerful leaders in your school. Drug dealers and gang leaders are using and honing their leadership skills all day, every day.

Job requirements for a gang leader:

• Inspiring and motivating speaker

• Strong personality

• Good people management skills

• Goal oriented

• Understands the needs of others

• Good decision making skills

• Good team builder

• Risk taker

• Effective communicator

• Confident

Job requirements for a drug dealer:

• Good at math

• Good organizational skills

• Knows the law

• Good at sales and up selling

• Responsible (meeting clients at set times)

• Excellent negotiation skills

• Understands the needs of others

• Good decision making skills (not on choice of career though)

• Good team builder

• Risk taker

• Effective communicator

• Confident

Qualities of a leader:

• Strong personality

• Motivating

• Good people management skills

• Goal oriented

• Listens to the needs of others

• Good decision making skills

• Good team builder

• Risk taker

• Effective communicator

• Confident

In the case of the young lady I spoke of earlier, she is neither a drug dealer nor a gang leader (though she does have quite the ‘following’ of friends). She is passionate, opinionated, well read and sees the world from a perspective outside of the mainstream. What truly sets her apart is that she is not afraid to speak her mind or to put herself on the line for her beliefs – characteristics which constantly get her into trouble.

Her problem, like all other anti-leaders, is that her energy is misdirected. She has never had anyone to help her cultivate and focus her talents and energy in a positive direction. Instead she gets dismissed as ‘another troublemaker’.

So this leads to the question, ‘Why cultivate the qualities of these anti-leaders’?

To put it bluntly if the earth is to survive another hundred years we need a radical shift in thinking and people with the guts to champion the cause. People are getting tired of politicians who just tow the party line to ensure their re-election. Though there are politicians out there who genuinely want to see change, they are not loud enough to be heard over the big machine.

The world needs civil leaders to champion causes that are forward thinking, much like the great civil rights leaders in the 1960’s. Roles like this can only be filled by a-typical leaders; ones who see the world from a different perspective and are not afraid to speak their minds or put themselves on the line to advance their cause and initiate change.

So my question to you is, ‘are you willing to put yourself on the line to cultivate these students and mentor them to use their qualities in a positive way’? If so, what do you think you can do to encourage them into positive leadership programs?

 As I sit to write this article I find myself being reminded of a young lady (though she would never call herself that) whom I know. She’s a classic anti-leader.

As a teacher it’s wonderful when you have a group of students come forward and volunteer for leadership roles in your school. It’s great to see them express their ‘type A’ personalities in such a positive way. However, they always tend to be from one or two social groups and don’t represent a good cross section of the school population.

There are leaders among every group of kids. Think of it this way, someone has to make the decision of what to do Saturday night when everyone else is sitting on the fence saying “I dunno, I’ll do whatever man.” For various reasons, these kids will not take on formalized leadership roles in their schools, perhaps they don’t feel they are good enough, they don’t know anyone else in ‘that circle’, or they just don’t see themselves as a leader.

These are the kids who need to be cultivated because they have the unique ability to influence their peers. They see school with its social and political hierarchy in a different way, and if you’re lucky they will tell you their views. These are the kids who, when taught to communicate effectively and develop their leadership skills, can bring about massive change – if you let them. These are the anti-leaders. I use this term because their ideas usually are outside of the mainstream. They are ‘painted with a different brush’ and not typically considered leaders. But it is their ideas that have the seeds of radical change and they are the ones who will truly make a difference – not only in their schools but in our world.

Let’s have some fun by comparing the qualities of a drug dealer and those of a gang leader with those of a student leader. Drug dealers and gang leaders may be an extreme example, but they are the most powerful leaders in your school. They are using and honing their leadership skills every single day, all day.

Job re
quirements for a gang leader:

• Inspiring and motivating speaker

• Strong personality
• Good people management skills

• Goal oriented

• Understands the needs of others

• Good decision making skills

• Good team builder

• Risk taker

• Effective communicator

• Confident

Job requirements for a drug dealer:

• Good at math

• Good organizational skills

• Knows the law

• Good at sales and upselling

• Responsible (meeting clients at set times)

• Excellent negotiation skills

• Understands the needs of others

• Good decision making skills (not on choice of career though)

• Good team builder

• Risk taker

• Effective communicator

• Confident

Qualities of a leader:

• Strong personality

• Motivating

• Good people management skills

• Goal oriented

• Listens to the needs of others

• Good decision making skills

• Good team builder

• Risk taker

• Effective communicator

• Confident

In the case of the young lady I spoke of earlier, she is neither a drug dealer nor a gang leader (though she does have quite the ‘following’ of friends). She is passionate, opinionated, well read and sees the world from a perspective outside of the mainstream. What truly sets her apart is that she is not afraid to speak her mind or to put herself on the line for her beliefs – characteristics which constantly get her into trouble.

Her problem, like all other anti-leaders, is her energy is misdirected because she has never had anyone to help her cultivate her talents and energy in a focused, positive direction. Instead she gets dismissed as ‘another troublemaker’.

So this leads to the question, ‘Why cultivate the qualities of these anti-leaders’?

To put it bluntly if the earth is to survive another hundred years we need a radical shift in thinking and people with the guts to champion the cause. People are getting tired of politicians who just tow the party line so as not to rock the boat to be sure they are re-elected. Though there are politicians out there who genuinely want to see change, they are not loud enough to be heard over the big machine.

The world needs civil leaders to champion causes that are forward thinking, much like the great civil rights leaders in the 1960’s. Roles like this can only be filled by a-typical leaders; ones who see the world from a different perspective and are not afraid to speak their minds or put themselves on the line to advance their cause and initiate change.

So my question to you is, are you willing to put yourself on the line to shape these kids to become the leaders they should be?

 

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