"The one who wants to lead an orchestra must turn their back to the crowd." — Max Lucado
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"So, Sammy, what inspired you to run for Vice President of Student Council at your school?”
I had just met Sammy, a 16 year-old student who was attending a youth leadership camp I was helping to lead. He was placed in my group and early on in the week I made a point to get to know the students, what their interests are, and what gets them excited.
Sammy’s response to this simple question shocked me.
I was expecting him to say something about wanting to make a positive difference in his school, or to gain leadership experience, or as something impressive to put on his college applications—or something along those lines—but that’s not what he chose to share with me. Instead, without hesitation, as if this line of thinking is second nature to him, he said:
“Well, I was going to run for President,” he started, “but then I heard about this other kid who wanted to run, and I knew he would do a good job and that it would be a positive experience for him, so I ran for Vice President instead, so he could have the opportunity to experience being the President.”
Talk about humility!
Many people seek leadership titles out of a desire for the respect that comes with positions of authority, but what Sammy went on to explain is that his leadership style is to feel the situation, assess the abilities and needs of the people involved, and then either step forward to lead or step back to follow.
Sammy doesn’t have a personal agenda. His focus is the greater good of everyone involved. I believe it is that kind of leader that we need more of and it is that kind of leader that I most strive to be myself.
As the week went on I took great joy in watching Sammy take on various roles at the camp, stepping forwards and backwards seamlessly as needed to both follow and lead the way.
I’ve been involved with this camp for over two decades, and Sammy certainly sticks out as a positive role model for others to be inspired and motivated by.
What kind of leader are you?
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Jonas Cain is an instructional designer, facilitator of fascination, and purveyor of positivity—helping to initiate and manage positive change for individual, team, and community growth.