Becoming a Leader

Elise - Rochester, Michigan
Entered on April 7, 2011
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I believe that leadership is utilizing everything about you that is true and valued to make that truth live in others. Warren Bennis’ quote “The point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, and to use yourself completely – all your gifts, skills and energies – to make your vision manifest. You must withhold nothing. You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming” supports my leadership belief. Oftentimes, we as human beings forget our roots and personal beliefs. Too often, I forget what is important and jeopardize my values. As I look back on the leaders before my time and then the leaders who have become famous recently, I notice the ones that truly ‘stick’ live their values. They had to go through difficult situations, have buy-in from the masses, and create a positive image that appeals to society all while remaining true to their beliefs. Leaders are constantly vulnerable to pressures from stakeholders, their family, and society. An authentic leader has the ability to overcome these temptations.

I feel that I use myself completely. I strive to excel in my education, career and family. I work hard until I cannot go anymore. If I use what I have learned so far in my life and have a positive attitude towards new ideas and different beliefs, I can be a more successful and effective leader. I am humbled by new opportunities, respectful towards my peers, and determined to grow into a successful, independent woman. I strive to be an altruist and constantly offer assistance to my co-workers and family.

I believe that I need more time to look back and see who I have become and how that is motivated by what I believe. It is hard for a young, motivated individual to enjoy a process of becoming. There are so many obstacles that prevent what I want to happen. I feel that people look at me and see how young I am and it leads them to think I am inexperienced. On the other hand, everyone expects me to step up and take the lead on projects or tasks outside of my responsibility.

I wonder how many times leaders such as Ghandi, Oprah or the President became discouraged and impatient with others around them waiting for change to happen. What is it like sitting with the producers and team of Harpo Studies during a quarterly meeting? Does everyone remain calm during a national crisis with the Joint Chiefs of Staff? The answer is most definitely no. To be a leader you must accept the unexpected, enjoy the chaos, and hope that your team has been trained and coached to get through difficult situations. I still think that I am too young to look back and see how life has shaped who I am. I hope that I can see my vision manifest regardless of obstacles, but those obstacles must be in place to learn and lead in the future to reach my full potential.