During the first class, this question was posed to us as not only the basis for the course, but as a question that will be on our final. It’s such a broad question, and there are so many different components.
At first, I thought of role models. Leaders can be role models, and the good ones usually are. Our professor invited us to think about the people who we classify as leaders, and what qualities and characteristics these people have. Since I initially thought about role models, my response was:
When I was younger, I admired leaders in the music industry. I wanted to be just like them. I especially admired the leaders who created their own music and wrote their own songs. As I proceeded to elementary, middle, and high school, I admired the leaders and teachers of the school. I wanted to become a teacher and so I looked up to the role models of what I wanted to be.
In college, I admired my supervisors. I looked to them for guidance in my job and in every aspect of my life. I also admired my peers who were leaders and who were able to solve different situations.
Now, I turn my attention still to my supervisors and coworkers. They have shown me how to be a leader in my position. I also admire the leaders who support my similar values and interests, like the president. They show me the good qualities that leaders can have. I think that all of these people have shown me how to be a role model, and so I role model myself after them in the hopes that I can inspire people like they have admired me.
However, I did not take into account the idea that some leaders are not good role models. For instance, was Hitler a leader? Yes, he was-but certainly not a role model by any means. We discussed how some leaders use power, and how there are different types. Some people use coercion, some use reward. Some use their followers and their feelings toward them. We then discussed how some leaders are managers, but not all managers are leaders. It reminded me of how all rhombuses are squares, but not all squares are rhombuses (I think)…and it’s so true. As an Assistant Hall Director, I am a manager and a supervisor, but am I leader to them? I hope so. I’m trying to guide them to the best of my abilities. I wonder if they see me as a leader…