FYSM 120 – Leadership, War, and Hollywood
September 6th, 2019
Those who believe leaders are born with the ability to lead take on the trait perspective toward leadership. They believe certain people are born with characteristics that others are not, therefore restricting leadership to those who carry these inborn qualities (Northouse, 15). The view I personally find most compelling is that anybody has the potential to be a successful leader. As Northouse consistently points out, leadership is a process: It is something that can be learned and positively developed over a period of time. A professor once told me that as a leader, it is important to develop core values that you use on a daily basis and incorporate into how you lead. The core values that I hold closest are trust, positivity, and confidence. Trust is critical between a leader and their followers; if you cannot trust who you are following nothing productive will get done. A positive attitude is also key to developing a healthy leader-follower relationship, as it is expected that there will be several setbacks throughout the leadership process. Followers will automatically look to their leader when something negative happens and it is the leader’s responsibility to get their team back on track and move forward. Lastly, if you are a leader who feels confident in their abilities, their followers will feel more comfortable and self-assured about what they are trying to accomplish. All of these values are things that can be developed and improved upon overtime, eventually making you a better leader through learned experience and practice.
A historical figure who I believe incorporates all these values and more is Mother Teresa. Most famously known as a Catholic nun and Saint, Mother Teresa was an incredible woman who dedicated her entire life to helping the poor. Her endless compassion and dedication to helping others allowed her to become a leader that millions of people around the world looked up to and followed. Although she passed away in 1997, people still actively work for her charities and follow in her footsteps. One of the most remarkable things I’ve come to know about Mother Teresa is that she was a simple woman who never owned more than the people she served. This alone exemplifies one of Mother Teresa’s strongest leadership qualities: her ability to relate to other people. She was able to gain such a massive following and receive undying praise because her followers felt that what Mother Teresa was doing could potentially be something they could do as well: help the world and the impoverished living within it. Her mission statement was always very clear, consistent and to the point. Most importantly, when times were tough or she received criticism, she never gave up. She remained true to her values and loyal to those she helped.
Northouse, Peter G. Leadership: Theory and Practice. 6th ed., Sage, 2019.