• Cat Young


“They don’t just ask for change; they act, for change”-- Rebecca Janke

Lead by example and live by the words you share. As I grew up, I realized how important it was for me to see my mentors practice what they preach. The people who have impacted me the most in my life are the people that are dedicated to the things they believe in. Being kind and caring are two extremely rewarding character traits to have. However, I believe that being brave and standing firm in your values makes for an even more admirable person.

What does it mean to be a ‘good’ leader?

From a young age, we are exposed to leadership skills. Teachers, parents, babysitters, and older siblings repeatedly enforce leadership skills like sharing, forgiveness and patience. Mentors preach enthusiasm and structure into the lives of the children they encounter to ensure they are set up for a successful future. Mentors grace children with the tools to be good leaders. Remember the posters that lined the walls of elementary school classrooms? The posters were decorated with creative acronyms and positive affirmations like “friends forgive and respect each other” or “treat others the way you want to be treated”. Mentors want to see the children in their lives be successful, hence the reason for why at a young age we are reminded of the golden rule.

It may be subjective to define a ‘good’ leader, just as it is subjective to define a ‘good’ person. Rather than thinking of leaders as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, I find it helpful to instead measure the effectiveness of a leader.

Effective leaders take responsibility for their actions, listen to the people around them, and act when the opportunity presents itself.

Why is it important to be an effective leader?

I recognize that not everyone seeks to hold leadership positions. On the other end, I argue that leadership skills are not just used for leadership positions. Leadership skills support efforts in being a good communicator, being a supportive community member, and being a respectable role model. It is important to develop effective leadership skills in order to develop well-rounded versions of ourselves. Not just for us, but everyone else as well. Being a well-rounded individual, especially a leader, will encourage and add to the growth of yourself and others. There is peace of mind knowing that the people around you seek to be effective, caring leaders.

How can we be effective leaders?

Being an effective leader will not be mastered by reading just one self-help book. It takes time to develop effective leadership skills. The best way to evolve as a leader is to practice and practice and practice. Start by being a leader of your own life. Be responsible and have clear intentions for your actions. Be thoughtful with your choices and set yourself up to succeed. It is important to practice how to be responsible for yourself before moving onto other people.

“They don’t just ask for change; they act, for change”-- Rebecca Janke

The topic of leadership is a timeless conversation. The leadership skills people develop will forever be useful and forever support efforts in building better communities. Thinking back on the mentors in my life, these were people that stood by their word. I have been blown away by the actions of my mentors and promise to live my life with the same intentions. Before I ask someone else to be the change, I make sure that I am filling those shoes as well. Lead by example and live by the words that you share.




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