We often connect leadership and power, but there is something that differentiates the two. Why do we put those two attributes together? Does a leader automatically have power? Do we consider someone with power a leader?
John Quincy Adams advocated that “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” In this quote, he is implying that being a leader is not about seeking power. Leadership isn’t about how much money you have, how much power you obtain, or how many people follow you, it is about the impact you have on others. Your ability to influence others to better themselves and their community is the true definition of a leader. The opportunity to lead is a privilege that allows you to promote the message of success, hope, and faith to those who follow you.
Often times society places people in leadership roles because of their money, power, and followers such as athletes, celebrities, and entertainers. Someone who we consider a leader (some may agree or disagree) because of the impact they had on others would be Colin Kaepernick, and his silent gesture to take a knee during a NFL game national anthem in 2016 as a protest against social injustice. This gesture was so influential that others soon followed. His impact has not only had a huge influence on his team and other NFL teams, but nationally. His was about to do what most people would consider impossible.
Colin Kaepernick is a great example of how a leader can be anyone regardless of race, sex, age or social status. Each person has the ability to become a great leader. I began by stating that leadership and power are often connected, but there is something the differentiates the two. Power is the end result of true leadership. It is not something that should be sought after, but comes when an individual is recognized as a leader. The purpose of leadership is to achieve worthwhile outcomes for the greater good, not to seek power. With that said, do you consider yourself to be a leader? As you reflect on the question, also ask yourself what kind of impact you hope to make in your community?