Last week, I was named the women’s captain of Western’s track and field team. I was very honored to be given this title because I think the world of the ladies on this team, and over the past couple of years they have become family – people I would anything for. Knowing that they see me as a leader – whatever “being a leader” might mean to them – makes me very happy. Since then I have been trying to figure out what the title of captain means to me, and how I intend to fulfill this role. This summer I read a book about leadership called “The Right To Lead”, and being the crazy-about-character-building lady that I am, I took notes. After looking them over a few days ago I quickly realized what the all-important role of any good leader is; empowerment.
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish” —Sam Walton. This quote sums up what I believe it means to be a leader. I know how talented our team is. I know we are capable of winning a national championship, and I see it as my duty to make sure each and every one of my teammates also believe this. Leaders help others see what they are capable of; leaders guide people to their own self-actualization and help them realize the world of potential they hold.
Sometimes people have wings but don’t even realize it. Empowerment is all about helping someone realize the wings, trust the wings, and utilise the wings. Then, you ever so gently nudge them in the direction of a cliff or really tall building. Eventually, they are so confident in their abilities that they take a leap of faith and spread the wings that they’ve had all along. That’s where the magic really happens – the person has realized their potential and as a result, they soar. Empowerment is simply helping people get off the ground.
Now, go push some people towards the edge of a cliff! (but not quite off of it – I think empowerment is all about allowing people to do things on their own terms!).