Leadership Philosophy

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Hosting a peace march.

Since I have joined the Leadership Institute this fall, I have been exposed to many different styles and philosophies, which has helped me create my own. My leadership philosophy is influence through inspiration. Many leaders throughout history have been able to leave a lasting impact on their followers, and have inspired them to do good in the world. When people are influential, they are often very passionate regarding a subject they are speaking or inspiring others about. Throughout my life, I have pictured a leader as someone who is able to inspire others, and once I got to the LI, my idea of a leader was solidified.

I have had this perception on leadership since I was young. My philosophy focuses slightly on the leader’s ability to be inspiring, but mostly falls on how a follower perceives that leader. Quite simply, in my leadership philosophy, anyone who has a passion and a drive about something has the potential to be a leader. In my eyes, passion of a leader fuels inspiration. Followers who have the same passion are often inspired not because the leader is “famous” but rather because the leader and follower share the same passion and can ignite that passion within the follower. In our LDR class we learned about The Golden Circle, a model that starts with the why rather than the what and how. By starting with the why, a leader can truly inspire a follower to do something for themselves rather than just telling a follower to do something. The first thing that comes to my mind when The Golden Circle is mentioned is the company Apple. Apple indeed tells the customer what they do and how they do it, but they start with the why. Instead of saying that, “We make great computers that allow users to be innovative.” Apple starts with the why and says that, “We spark innovation. Everything we do promotes the user’s sense of innovation, and allows creativity to breed within each user. By the way, we make really great computers.” Starting with the why captivates followers rather than just telling them what your plan is. Apple truly displays that they are about to influence others through their inspiration in the tech industry.

Influence through inspiration is used in everyday life: countless leaders exemplify the idea of influence by inspiration each day. This philosophy can be used with all people which is why I believe it is credible. My grandfather is very passionate about family life, and has helped many members in the family and outside becoming passionate about devoting their selves to family. My grandfather is an “average person” but can change the lives of others through igniting their passions. My grandfather has worked in the boring mill industry for 50 years. Each day he works with upcoming engineers and inspires them to try new things and to be innovative within their field. Since my grandfather is passionate about the tool and dye industry, he can truly impact the people around him. In contrast, the students who work alongside my grandfather can influence him as well. New upcoming engineers possess computer skills that my grandfather does not possess. These students can connect with my grandfather, and work toward a common goal together, since both are passionate about the industry. On the other hand, a famous speaker like Martin Luther King Jr. can also exemplify the philosophy of influence through inspiration. King was passionate about equal rights for all, and he could light the fire in his followers. Instead of just laying out a plan, King could truly inspire others around him to follow their passions. Together, King and his followers worked side by side to see their goal become a reality.

The philosophy of influence through inspiration can be seen throughout history and in everyday life. To me, this philosophy makes sense because it is easy to see and can fit into all categories, rather than only work for a certain group of people. After adopting this philosophy into my life, I can share the idea of influencing others with inspiration. In my fraternity, some members fail to pull their weight. As a leader, I can step up to the plate, find something that one of my brothers is passionate about, and create a position for them that allows them to work with their passions every day. On Central Michigan’s campus, there are hundreds of RSOs. I encourage each person not in an RSO to shop around to find their passions and find an RSO that can connect to these passions. If there isn’t an RSO that fuels your passion, go out and create an RSO for it. I guarantee that others have the same passion. As a leader, it is important to connect others to their passions. Passion fuels innovation. Innovation fuels growth. Everyone in the world has something that they are passionate about, and with passion comes the spark that causes influence. I can use my philosophy to inspire those around me about my passions, as well as let others inspire me to be a part of their passions. In conclusion, I feel that influence through inspiration is an inclusive leadership philosophy that allows leaders and followers to be successful.