March Fast Company : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Fast Company / March - Jill Herzig

The article I have chosen to respond to is by Polly Labarre and is entitled " Do You Have the Will to Lead?" When I think about a leader, I think about someone who is charismatic and motivational. They get the job done and people feel privileged to have worked with them. The article states the leadership is the sum of two vectors: competence including your specialty, your skill, and your know-how and authenticity including your identity, your character, and your attitude. Th central leadership attribute is then to manage these two vectors and keep an open mind to growth within them. My first exposure to a great leader was when I was at the University of Minnesota and was able the watch the effects of the football coach, Lou Holtz, on his Division I team. I lived in the dormitory most players resided in, and I got to see and hear the players discuss there coach first hand. I was impressed with the devotion the players had to him as well as the positive attitude the players had among themselves. Imagery was used to demonstrate that they could do anything they set there minds to, and as a result of this and much hard work, they ended up in the Independence Bowl for the first time in school history and the Independence Bowl the following year. None of the players I knew ever doubted that they had the ability and talent to win. The coach saw to it that they were focused and believed in themselves. Another standout leader I can recall was a swimming coach from Duluth Central named Sally Sundeen, who was a first time head coach after several years as an assistant. I was an assistant swimming coach with her after working the previous two years with another coach. It was exciting to see her work first hand at motivating the girls and watching them reach new heights of greatness. She had the attitude that positive reinforcement works and if you set high expectations, anything is possible. She taught me that, you needed to always begin at the beginning and assume nothing. Reteach every step of the way. Also that positive reinforcement and believing in yourself works. She would say, "I believe in you and I know you can do a great job." Because of the foundation of skills she laid down, coupled with the positive attitude and reinforcement, she was successful. That year, we won seven Region 7 swimming events and set five region records. Because we are all in essence leaders of our families, classrooms, and schools, can we become great motivational leaders? As the article states, we don't use techniques, we must risk ourselves with a commitment by showing courage to try and to believe in what we are setting out to accomplish. We all have varying levels of education and talent, but we all can be good leaders in the choices we make. Because the fundamental piece of a great leader is attitude, if we believe we can do it, and do it well, we can.

-- Anonymous, March 29, 2000

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