“Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.” Tom Peters.
Anyone can manage a group’s output without much skill or effort, but leading a group and enhancing the strength of each individual is rare/.
Leadership is not stagnant, but adaptive to the needs of a situation and a group.
For example, even if you make the world’s best peach cobbler, you can not use a peach cobbler’s ingredients to make a cake. It doesn’t work.
A new varsity girl’s basketball coach was hired my sophomore year of high school. He originally coached boys at a smaller school and had an amazing coaching record.
The whole school was excited to have a new coach and looked forward to building a better basketball team.
During his first months on the job, he pushed us past complacency and pointed out faults that had gone unnoticed for years. Players were improved individually and team was more cohesive than ever.
He continued to push the team to new heights, but not without a cost. Our record was at a higher than ever, but the morale of the team was low.
“Coaching boys is different than coaching girls,” my dad knowingly remarked. “Girls get upset and will quit if they feel wronged, while most boys will get mad and play harder.”
As if clairvoyant , my dad was right. After a record setting season, star players began to quit.
Coaching is the ultimate example of leadership because there is little direct input into the team’s outcome. A coach observes and trains each player to be their best, minimizing individual weaknesses to amplify group strengths.
This was an amazing coach. His only flaw was in not adjusting his leadership style to meet the needs of his team.
Leaders must adapt to the dynamics of a group.
Being accepted into the President’s Leadership Council was a large component of my decision to attend UCO. I’m a required to be an active member of at least two campus organizations and complete twelve community service hours each semester.
In high school I was used to being a leader and having everyone follow, but being a part of a group where everyone was accustomed to being a leader was jarring.
Once again my dad reflected on my experience,” It’s like being on a college football team huh? Everyone is used to being the best.”
He was right, and I adopted a softer leadership approach. I played up my interpersonal skills and affected change through one-on-one interactions instead of the dictator approach I used in high school.
It worked and I even made friends.
I currently serve as secretary of the UCO Black Student
Association, which has also increased my leadership skills.
I discussed my leadership journey with the BSA President. She surmised that I would have still matured without BSA, “You would have been a leader anyway because of PLC.”
I explained that I would have been the same leader because leadership skills are developed uniquely depending on each circumstance, and each circumstance necessitates different leadership skills.
How I lead in the President’s Leadership Council is different from how I lead in the Black Student Association.
In both groups I use interpersonal skill, to accomplish tasks and encourage others, but I edit my delivery depending on the culture of the group.
Comparatively the groups are starkly different, but within each group their is a common culture, cultural cues, signals, signs, words and habits that affirm that one is a part of a group.
Depending on the group, I use certain song references, jokes, cultural familiarizes and quotes.
In the duality of my interactions, I never lose my identity because I am the accumulation of my personal experiences and interactions that I have had.
We can all lead without changing ourselves, but our leadership can be misinterpreted if we don’t adapt our delivery to meet the needs of the group.
Knowing the needs of a group comes from experience and interactions with others.
Being an influential leader takes effort, but the best leaders always manage.