Leaders Inspire Leadership

30 Nov

Guest post by: Blake Mankin*

*We love guest authors – hit us up if you’re interested in writing for StelosBlog!

Last year, I started a student organization at the University of Texas dedicated to ending the world’s water crisis. I wanted to gather passionate people together and start a campus movement working to collectively give individuals across the globe clean water to drink.

I’d stand up at our weekly meetings, speaking from the bottom of my heart about why people should care about this issue. I did everything within my power to make solving the water crisis something we could—and should—get excited about. I made sure we maintained a grass-roots environment where anyone’s ideas could be heard and executed, no matter if it was their first or millionth time at a meeting.

But something was wrong.

About halfway through the semester I realized that, despite my seemingly altruistic motivations, I’d set up an organizational system where I was the only leader. Sure, I’d let anyone make suggestions at meetings, but in the end I was obsessed with control and had a hard time sharing responsibility. I was selfish, seeing members as people I led and not as people I served. I was missing out on seeing incredibly talented people use their gifts to move the group in a better direction, so I made some changes.

Official leadership positions were established, giving members defined titles and responsibilities reflecting the things they were passionate about. Responsibilities were shared, others entered into the decision-making process, and members became leaders.

I’ve learned that a good leader knows how to build a good team, delegate tasks, and inspire leadership in others. I had to learn this the hard way, experiencing the exhaustion of going at it alone. If you’re thinking of starting a student organization—or if you’re a leader of one now—recognize your members’ talents, build a team, allow others to take some responsibility, and work to make everyone feel like a leader in some way.

Good leaders inspire leadership.

Blake will graduate from the University of Texas this December. He works to provide clean water to people who need it – you can see the results of his work with Charity Water here. Blake writes here. You can also catch his interview on I Am Second here.

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