What Does It Mean to be a Leader?

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” This quote by John Quincy Adams is the essence of what not only our single-parent scholars are achieving, but what our young scholars are practicing.

Many of our young scholars spent a week of their summer gaining skills and knowledge that will help them continue to be leaders in their school, neighborhoods and community. Ty’Rell, one of our young scholars shares his thoughts on what it means to lead:

“When it is crunch time and everyone is at a loss, you or your group will turn to the one person you can depend on most, the leader, or high ranking authority figure. Being a leader is not about what power you hold, nor is it about your own personal benefit, but in fact it is about making sure those you lead have a strong, fair, honest and dependable person to turn to. But first, to be an outstanding or even decent leader, one must fully be committed to their team, they must realize who and what they are responsible for, and know that their decisions can and will affect the group, either positively or negatively. A true leader will sacrifice their own time to make sure things are well within the group. They must be able to hear everyone’s ideas and thoughts, and never put down another member. Communication is a key essential role in being a good leader as well. Stifling others for something they should have done better is alright so long as they are not put down or have crude negative comments thrown at them. Though a leader may have the final word on a decision, it is good to delegate with the group and be comfortable with assigning certain and vital roles to others. But being a leader is not all about being serious; a sense of humor to settle any tension is also a good trait, and they must be confident in everything they do. They must keep a positive attitude even when things get bad. I believe one thing that is overlooked by others is the fact that leaders must be innovative, meaning they must be able to flip a bad situation into a good one, and must be able to work with whomever they are with. They must be able to build off other’s weaknesses rather than promote the strengths. A leader should have a well-developed sense of intuition and needs to be able to inspire those around him, even the people outside of his group. I believe that there are no bad leaders, just ones who need help along the way, which is where their group, or rather their family comes in. If better is possible, then why is good simply good enough?”

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