"The most important personal quality people look for and admire in a leader is personal credibility. Credibility is the foundation of leadership. If people don’t believe in the messenger, they won’t believe the message. Titles may be granted but leadership is earned.
Student leaders Model the Way by finding their voice and affirming shared values.
As captain of his volleyball team, Mark Almassy talked about the critical importance of leading by example: “I always showed up early to practice and oftentimes stayed late. There was nothing I wasn’t willing to do. I was not too good to mop the floor or too cool to shout words of encouragement to a freshman. I knew that my actions spoke louder than my words, so I made sure to show people what to do rather than tell them what to do.”
Leaders are supposed to stand up for their beliefs, so they’d better have beliefs to stand up for. Leaders must be clear about their guiding principles. They must find their own voices, and then they must clearly and authentically give voice to their values. Yet leaders can’t simply impose their values on others and expect commitment. They have to engage others in common aspirations. Modeling the Way begins with the clarification of personal values and involves building and affirming shared values that all can embrace.
Eloquent speeches about common values are not nearly enough. Exemplary leaders know that it’s their behavior that earns them respect. The real test is whether they do what they say—whether their words and deeds are consistent. Leaders set an example and build commitment through simple, daily acts that create progress and build momentum.
The personal-best leadership case studies we examined were distinguished by the fact that all of them required relentless effort, steadfastness, competence, and attention to detail. It wasn’t the grand gesture that had the most lasting impact. Instead it was the power of spending time with someone, of working side-by-side with colleagues, of telling stories that made values come alive, of being highly visible during times of uncertainty, of handling critical incidents with grace and discipline, and of asking questions to get people to focus on values and priorities."
What are you doing in your life right now to communicate you "Model the Way" as mentioned in the passage above? Please provide examples. Have you found your voice as a student leader? If so, what is your voice and how are you utilizing it? If not, what must happen for you to find your voice?
Source: The Student Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner