Unit 4: What We Learn from Leadership

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Have you ever accidentally picked up someone else’s drink? Do you remember the feeling of expecting a cool glass of Sprite only to get a mouthful of tonic water? Remember the gag-like reflex that accompanied your failed expectations? It’s not that you didn’t like or couldn’t stomach tea; it is just that your expectations did not meet the reality of the situation. The same can be said for leadership. People come in expecting to sit atop the section and delegate to others while enjoying the fruits of their new-found supervisory powers, when in reality, it is oftentimes the exact opposite: everyone is yelling at them and they find themselves at the bottom of the pile, doing the grunt work that no one else wants to do.

The term “leadership” has become en vogue in our society. While leadership itself is not a new phenomenon by any means, recent trends in our society and culture have brought the subject matter to the forefront of our national agenda. More than ever, people are striving to achieve leadership roles as a way of quantifying their success. In fact, recent studies have shown that we value the position and power associated with leadership beyond anything that can be rewarded in a monetary way. In other words, people seek power and authority over financial gain. The extrinsic rewards of being in a leadership role often times are contradictory to the nature of leadership as we know it, which is an act of servitude.

The following questions are meant to get you to examine your new role as a leader in a new and creative way. We are going to take a wide-angle lens look at what your new position is and what it has to teach you.

LEADERSHIP TIP: People will fight harder by your side if they know not “who” they are fighting, but “why” they are fighting. People just want to fight for a cause as much as they want to fight “for” and “against” a person. Every leader needs a cause and every cause needs a leader.

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