This I Believe

Heidi - Dearborn, Michigan
Entered on December 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I was born with certain gifts and skills. How much I strive to discover and develop those gifts is up to me. I quickly discovered that they have traits that are natural to leadership like intelligence, determination, integrity and sociability. I can learn how to be an effective leader, and if what I learn describes something that I am personally capable of doing, I can further develop and have more educated access to my natural leadership abilities. On the other hand, I might learn and understand what it takes to be an effective leader, but not have the natural ability to function in that role. So, in effect, I cannot learn how to become a leader, but rather to become a fully developed version of myself.

Born leaders aren’t always successful. Effective leadership has depended on the situation and people being led. Sometimes, a person is may be an effective leader in one situation but completely unsuccessful in a different situation. For example, when voting for a vice president of my sorority, I thought the very task-oriented, vocal, directive, controlling, get the job done type girl would be perfect for the position because we needed someone who wouldn’t be afraid to hold the committees responsible of keeping on top of their tasks. However, once she got in that leadership role and was not leading as effectively as I thought she would, I realized who we really needed in that position was someone who was more approachable, understanding and accommodating to relational needs of the sorority.

I see myself as leader who is sympathetic, laid back and someone who can make sure the team accomplishes goals while also having fun. I care deeply for maintaining strong relationships with those around me. I am a very logical leader using reasoning and common sense to guide my decisions. However, at the same time, I am creative leader who’s eager to create new paths to achieving a goal. I love setting visions and getting others excited to share in it—providing coaching, encouragement and some direction along the way. Once the goal was achieved, the team celebrates while I personally make sure each individual understood that their work is greatly appreciated. When I played on the J.V. soccer team at my high school in 9th grade, our team hadn’t even come close to winning a game. We had scored more goals on ourselves than we scored on the other teams. Then one game, I was so discouraged I told the whole team that I would buy them all mustang convertibles if we won—that’s how confident I was in our ability to lose. Sure enough, we won that game 5-1. We all worked together and had confidence in ourselves while working towards a common goal. I felt bad that I didn’t believe in our team so I apologized and told them each what a great job they did. The next week at practice, I had little magazine cutouts of convertibles for each of them.