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February 08, 2011

Why I like to lead

I've been looking forward to the beginning of this module for some time now. Leadership is a topic that has begun to interest me more and more in the past few years, probably because I became more involved in roles that required it! It is one of the reasons I decided to embark on a postgraduate degree in management, having come from an engineering background.

The Lifeboat task was very interesting. While we at no point elected a leader, or even discussed the matter, I think the fact that Paul gave me the pack was enough to make me the de facto 'facilitator', if not more. I was happy to take this role, I seem to actively pursue leadership opportunities - I always want to have my say... perhaps I do not have enough trust in others!

However, it made me think about that fact that quite often, a lot of people don't want to be leaders, they are not interested in it, and relinquish the opportunity quickly! Why? I don't know... I think I used to be like that. There are many possible reasons people don't want to take charge, such as, but not limited to: lack of confidence in self, unwilling to be accountable/responsible, liking things how they are, would rather get on with their job and excel in it, etc.

I think, for myself, the first reason was applicable. I never wanted to be in charge, as I didn't think I could do a good job, and I was worried of looking like a fool. I certainly no longer have that fear! ;-) For me, it was the experience of having to take charge, because no-one else would (or wanted to), that pushed me towards where I am today. My self-confidence was burgeoning at that point in my life, and I was ready to take that step. Now, my experiences feed my desire. In that sense, I think Surya made a valid point in the class discussion: having leadership experience IS necessary to be a leader, because you have to WANT to be a leader, and the only way to understand that desire is to have enjoyed previous leadership experience. However, that experience doesn't have to in any way be formal - I was an older brother, a reliable and persuasive friend, a hockey player demanding of my team mates, etc... and all long before I actually actively wanted to lead anyone, anywhere!

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