BEING A LEADER IS BIG STUFF
This summer I am interning with the Office of Residence Life at Millikin University and we just wrapped up Orientation and Registration this week and it was one for the books!
I really enjoyed getting to see how things work in Higher Education and how to be a leader not only in your regular classroom setting as an undergrad student, but now as an actual adult learning the crafts of the profession. It was very rewarding to get to see how other professionals handle certain situations and learn about the type of educator I wish to become.
One thing that became apparent to me though was, although you are leading in a new and different light, being a great leader takes the same skills and practices that it did as an undergraduate student. I then began thinking about what I have always used to try and live by that made me say, "Yeah, this is what makes a good leader a great one." What first came to mind was the Four Pillars of Social Excellence.
I have heard about them in a few different presentations and time and time again they still really strike a chord with me. I honestly believe that if you can try and model your life and the way you lead after the Four Pillars of Social Excellence then nothing will stand in your way from making positive change and improvements in the lives of many.
What are the Four Pillars of Social Excellence you say? Well, sit tight and I will explain further!
The Four Pillars are:
When you are living out these pillars you have a desire to intentionally connect with others. You will have the ability to engage in deep, meaningful conversations. And you are living every day with integrity to be the best version of yourself possible. To me, that defines a great leader. A person who truly cares for the betterment and well being of other human beings.
If you're interested in what my personal opinion of each word is and how it relates back to being a great leader you can keep reading. If you are tired of what I have to say, I get it, because this post is a long one so you can stop at any point. I believe you have gotten the basis of the message. YES THAT IS RIGHT I HAVE GRANTED YOU ACCESS TO STOP READING IF YOU WANT. What's that you say? You don't have to have my permission to do that? Okay, you're right on that one. I praise you for being amazing people and sticking around. YOU ARE GODS/GODDESSES.
(okay weird/annoying rant over)
1. Authenticity- Being truly yourself at all times. Being gracious enough to get through the hard times and the good. Holding true to your morals and what makes you, you. Showing your true colors and how you really care and are passionate about what you are working for. I think this is an important part of being a leader because you have to be someone people can trust. When you are authentic, people will love being around you because you have embraced who you are and now they can learn to do the same.
2. Generosity- Ding* Ding* Ding* This just screams leader. You have to be generous, you have to give to others and work hard and for a purpose. In the Bible, even Jesus cleaned the feet of others. This is what you must do for all. (Clarification: Not clean feet, but care for every individual no matter how big or small, but you can clean their feet if you're into that.) You are not higher or greater just because you are the leader. You must build your team up and you will see the rewards.
3. Curiosity- My first big leadership role I had, my father told me to always listen to the people that I am in charge of. They understand some things better than myself and they will ALWAYS have amazing opinions and ideas. A true, great leader must be willing to listen and be curious in the lives of others. Invest your time in learning about what your team or staff or partners have to say.
4. Vulnerability- Now this one can be very challenging to say the least. It is hard to willingly put yourself into a situation where you are "vulnerable", but let me tell you that it is such a great learning experience both professionally and personally. Vulnerability leads to change. And change is something everyone seeks to always make improvements and better the quality of living for all people. Being vulnerable means being exposed to attack, others' opinions, to great failure but to also great life changing success. Great leaders are prepared to be vulnerable knowing that there is so much more to gain that there will ever be to lose. Once we can truly be vulnerable to outside sources, do we open ourselves up to the possibility of greatness.
I will always love and cherish the exposure and the leadership opportunities that Millikin University has given me. Being able to practice these pillars and truly embrace and understand each one's purpose has ultimately been one of the best things that could have happened and prepared me for life after college.
Here's to the always learning and inspiring nature of being a great leader.