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Leaders Yesterday and Today

Updated on May 5, 2012

Knowledge, wisdom, strength, an outgoing personality, patience, visions? Are you a leader? Do you consider yourself to be leader? What qualifies any one person to be a leader?

Leadership an attribute for anyone

I was always told I was a great leader. Me, I thought? No way! I am quiet, reserved, a person with very little to contribute. But yet, my friends think of me as a leader. I always considered myself to be a follower. I hated leadership positions, and did anything and everything to avoid them.

A quote from John Quincy Adams drastically changed my opinion and opened my eyes to what real leadership is all about. "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."--John Quincy Adams. That's it? If our actions do these four things, that makes us a leader? Hard to believe? Maybe so, but the truth is immanent, leaders are everywhere. From political parties, government officials, to families, each institution, each union has a leader.

I talked to a friend just the other day and she told me that I am a quite leader. I have a sharp mind, and a listening ear, that is open to both sides of a debate and for these two reasons that makes me a good leader. I am always willing to lend a helping hand, and be there to teach, listen, guide, and give advice to a friend in need. I may not lead a nation, but I do lead those around me in small ways.

Not all leaders hold powerful positions in society. Having power, money, and authority doesn’t qualify anyone to be a great leader. Many of today’s political “leaders” have failed us, and rightfully so. We as a society expect too much from our leaders. We want them to change the world while we sit back and watch them fail and then complain about what terrible leaders they are. If our great political leaders don’t inspire us, are they really leaders at all?

Historical Leadership

Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill are recognized around the world as two of the greatest leaders in history. Why? They were courageous fighting for what they believed in, yet they took time to bring in others along the way. Abraham Lincoln was known for listening to all viewpoints and learning while on the job, he was capable of change in himself as well as in others and ultimately the world. Winston Churchill cared for more than just himself and his country. He cared about the world and fought for it, leaving everlasting effects in his place.

Why were Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill so successful then when it seems like so many of today’s leaders are being mocked, criticized, and belittled? Then people backed their leaders, through the good and the bad, they believed in the power of change and dreams. It wasn’t every man for himself. Today things go wrong we blame the leadership and find someone new, there is no commitment, nothing that ties us to what we once wanted. Today we struggle for power, money, and the ability to lead ourselves. As a society we don’t want to be told what to do, rather we want to tell leaders what they should do. How they should lead.

Leaders of Tomorrow

Leader’s need people to follow them, to choose today to step out and change the world with them. It is not enough to elect a leader and say go ahead we picked you now change all the bad and find the good. Leaders need our help, and we need leaders.

Whether you're a politician, staff at church or work, parent, teacher, etc we all need to carry ourselves as leaders of tomorrow. It's important to listen, encourage, and be capable of change. Our children need leaders of today that can be leaders of tomorrow and ultimately leaders of a lifetime. Draw encouragement and wisdom from the worlds greatest leaders and never give up hope.

As I sit here and reflect what this quote says I think back to all the times when my actions disappointed others, let others down. Leader’s are humans too and make mistakes it’s the times we get back up brush off our guilt, shame, fear, etc and strive to pick ourselves up and start again. Not everyone is going to be an Abraham Lincoln, but Abraham like qualities can be found in us all.

Everyone has the ability to become a leader, all you have to do is believe in yourself.


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