Don’t just follow me because I am pretty

My daughter Leah loves to come out of her room and tell us random facts that she has just read. One of these random “facts” was this: someone put the alphabet in the order that it is in and everyone just kind of followed it, in which I replied “well people didn’t follow this person just because the person was pretty”. I know it was a random thing for me to say but this person had to convince those around him that the alphabet was in the order it was in for a reason, and because of that reason and some good convincing people went along with it. So what makes people start to believe in someone or something? How do people put their full faith and trust into a person or ideal?

Everywhere you look there is someone trying to convince you that what they are doing or what they are selling is what you should be interested in. To take it a step further most of us throughout our whole lives were brought up to believe and trust in the same ideals as our families have. Some of us as we grow older and start to see the world through our own eyes then either rebel from those taught beliefs or hold fast to them. Our families were the first set of people that taught us to put our beliefs into something or someone. If you grew up in a Christian home, you were taught to believe in Christ and that He died on the cross for our sins. If you were taught that food should be included in every social gathering you make sure to have an empty stomach before heading to Grandma Fay’s birthday party. If you were taught to respect your elders you say “yes ma’am, no ma’am” when your Aunt Martha asks you a question. These beliefs follow you into adulthood and some stick and some go to the wayside. They made you who you are, and because of them they influence the way you are around other people.

I don’t know about you but I have found that the people that have been the best leaders in my life have had a certain humbleness about them. They know their stuff, they can teach it to anyone but they don’t flaunt it. A good leader leads from behind, they teach and show people how to do what they need to do and then be there when they need help. When you are in front you can’t see when people need help. Leaders help people to become better, they are patient but firm when they need to be. Leaders stand up for what they believe in even when it’s hard and they’re the only ones doing it. Leaders are willing to take the fall for their team and will help their team learn from their mistakes. A great leader is not proud and haughty but is humble and strong.

My friend Sandra and I have been friends since college. We lived together with 3 other gals in a big farmhouse. Sandra was very much into her studies, church and job that she had to gain experience (she wanted to be a veterinarian). Sandra was a very observant person and would notice things before other people did. She was one of those steady, humble and very kind friends and still is. The one thing I love about her and wish I had appreciated more when I lived with her is that she stood up for what she believed in and would have those hard conversations with you. I remember when she told me she didn’t really care for the guy I had been dating, I remember being so mad at her for saying that to me. I almost let it end our friendship but God was in her words and was in the repair of our friendship, so when that same guy dumped me, she was their for me then. Sandra was there for me during that tough time and was there when I married the man that was meant for me. She was consistently strong and humble, exactly what you would want in a friend and leader.

Who do you know that is a good leader? What makes them a leader in your mind? Could you be a leader? Take this small quiz and if you answered yes to even 75% of the questions you could be and probably are a good leader.

  1. Do you trust that when you give someone a job to do they will do it?
  2. Do people seek your advice and input?
  3. Do you find opportunities to let your team mates shine?
  4. Do you recognize the contributions made by people you have in your group of team?
  5. Do people know you have their back in hard times?
  6. Do you challenge people to do bigger and better things?
  7. Do you tell people you appreciate them?
  8. Do you apologize when needed?
  9. Do you given people credit when credit is due?
  10. Do you treat people with respect and dignity?
  11. Do you care about the people around you?

There are so many good qualities that leaders have. How many of these were you able to say yes to? Aspire to be a leader, learn how to be a leader and be open to educating yourself. If you have been blessed to know a good leader, learn from them. Read books, a couple of suggestions: the Bible, Jesus was an excellent leader and the Bible has so many more examples. Another book would be Lead or be Lunch, the power of earning influence by David Villa. Listen to podcasts, watch videos but most importantly learn by doing and be an example. Until next time:

Keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing an there’s so much to smile about

Marilyn Monroe

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