Acronyms are great ways to organize ideas you want students to learn – and to help them remember what you are teaching. If you work with student leaders – or potential student leaders, here is the acronym LEADERSHIP with key ideas of what leaders do.
Leaders are Learners
Knowledge is doubling every one and one half years. More important than knowing facts is knowing how to learn.
“Education is the process through which we discover that learning adds quality to our lives.” (William Glasser)
If you are going to be a leader, you have to be a learner
Leaders are Ethical
Leaders need to set a high moral standard.
Being ethical includes being honest, forthright, and truthful.
You’ll know you’re ethical if you are easily able to tell other people what you are doing.
Leaders are Available
As a student leader, you have to be available for your constituents–the people that you are representing. If you are unreachable and unavailable, you cannot stay in touch with the people you are supposed to be leading.
Leaders are Determined
It takes effort and determination to lead. It is A LOT easier to follow—-or to lag behind.
Leaders are Energetic
People often ask me if I take some sort of vitamin that gives me the level of energy that I have. While I do take vitamins and I do exercise to energize myself and get rid of some of the stress I experience on a never ending basis, I have to credit my energy level to the passion I feel for what I do and my sense of purpose and mission.
Nathaniel Branden, psychologist and author, offers the following steps to convert desires into purposes:
- Ask yourself what actions you would need to take if your purpose were to achieve your goals in reality.
- Design an action plan and begin to implement it.
- Monitor your progress; pay attention to the outcomes of your actions. Adjust your plans and behavior when necessary.
- Keep yourself on track, moving toward fulfillment. And watch yourself grow in personal power.
You will know if the people around you have lost their passion and purpose because you can observe one or more of the following: lethargy, lack of motivation, overall aches and pains, negativity, disappearing sense of direction, diminished patience with others, difficulty working on anything, general malaise, and thoughts of quitting.
You’ve got to get some pep in your step
You have to make sure that you are not dragging around…you must eat right, exercise, and get enough rest.
Leaders are Reliable
You must be someone whom people can count on. You are your word. If you tell people that you will do something, do it. Don’t overpromise, which may cause you to run out of time and then you have to renege on something you have promised.
One of the highest compliments that you can be paid is when people say, “I always know that I can count on you.”
Leaders are Sensible
Leaders use good judgement. They carefully consider various options. They do not make snap judgments unless absolutely necessary. They consider many angles before deciding.
Leaders are Humble
Few things are more obnoxious than self-serving, boastful, egocentric individuals. Be authentically humble.
Leaders are Intense
Leaders have a focus that is not found in non-leaders. Leaders seem to have a laser-beam mentality on certain issues that they are concerned with. They are able to direct their efforts and attention to that which they have deemed important–and that is part of the secret of their success.
They do not spread themselves all over the map.
Leaders are Positive
Another way of saying positive is “optimistic”—
In Alan Loy McGinnis’ book The Power of Optimism, he lists the 12 characteristics of tough-minded optimists. This is a book worth reading. I would only add one characteristic to his excellent list:
13. Optimistic people surround themselves with other optimistic people.
Watch for others who want to pull you into their abyss. You can be sure that they are miserable there–and, that in their misery, they do not care whether they also make you miserable. Avoid this at all costs if you want your high school and college career and your life to be successful.
William James said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” You have control over your mind and you can choose to be optimistic.