Follow the Leader

Tom - Mentor, Ohio
Entered on December 11, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Follow the Leader

I believe that leadership is one of the most important qualities a person can have in our society today.

Most of my life I have always strived to be a good leader and most of my life I have failed and remained being just another follower. There is a reason why I have always wanted to be a good leader and I don’t think I completely realized how to become a good leader until I joined the high school swim team.

When I was in high school I swam for our boys swim team, and every year the coach would choose a captain two or three weeks after the season started. I noticed it was very easy for the coach to pick the captain because it was obvious that the person had a lot of influence over the other kids during practice and at meets. Also he was someone that contributed a lot of his time to the team; he would rarely missed practice and would most likely be a senior who had swam all four years of his high school career. I decided that my goal was to become the captain of the swim team, so that I could gain leadership skills in life.

So I began to work hard and I became good friends with the captains in grades above me. I realized that in order to be a good captain u have to be a great follower. When other swimmers saw me hanging out with the captain they began to build respect for me as well, and soon I realized that the coach was beginning to give me more and more responsibilities. This continued on throughout my swimming career and I began to think that my chances were extremely good that I would become the next captain.

When my senior year began and the swim season started once more. It seemed that almost everyone already knew that I would be the captain before the coach had even decided. I was meeting with the coach almost everyday and he used me as a gateway to communicate with the other swimmers on the team. I also realized how important I had become and that I had more power over decisions that were made, for example I would meet with the coach before meets to give him my opinion on the line ups. This sense of leadership intrigued me to become a leadership in other areas besides swimming.

Being the captain of the boys swim team was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and has greatly changed me in the best of ways. I learned that leadership can bring you much more respect and power in your lifetime, and even though there are more responsibilities the rewards greatly outweigh them. I believe that everyone has the potential to become a leader, but you cannot be lazy. You have to work hard and accept responsibility before you can reek the benefits.