Leadership Challenges: 360 Degree Edition

Good. We have covered everything that we shouldn’t believe in, or buy into – aka myths – and now we are ready to become a leader! Right?

Well, maybe it’s not quite that easy. Nobody has ever said Leadership is easy; on the contrary, Leadership is a demanding role that carries many challenges with it. In this blog post, let’s go over 7 of John C. Maxwell’s most important and difficult Leadership challenges.

The Tension Challenge. “The pressure of being ‘caught in the middle’.”  Dealing with tension can be tough when you are being pulled in many directions – you have responsibilities to those below you, as well as demands from those above you! However, the way that I personally deal with tension is to strive for congruence, and integrity in myself. This means that I ‘walk the talk’. If I am consistent with this, then people below me and above me will have realistic expectations, and will be able to ‘read’ me, which I want because it allows them to only ask questions that they know I can answer.

The Frustration Challenge. “Following an ineffective leader.” John C. Maxwell, in his experience, recommends this: to influence the leader in a positive direction, you must first build a strong relationship and rapport with the leader in question. I 100% agree with this method. The relationship is the key! It doesn’t matter how wise, or how well-read, or how clever you are at influencing your leader – if he or she doesn’t like you, they will not take your advice. You must believe in the person, and love the person, before you try to help them grow.

The Multi-Hat Challenge. “One head…. many hats.”  Q.1.

  1. The Student: in Martial Arts, in Academics, in Leadership, in Poetry, in Fashion, and in Athletics – throughout all of these disciplines, I wear this hat. The common trait is that I strive to be hungry for growth.
  2. The Coach: both in Martial Arts and in Poetry, I seek to give those who want it the same incredible experience that I had.
  3. The Boyfriend: making someone feel special.
  4. The Friend: just having fun!

The Ego Challenge. “You’re often hidden in the middle.” Q.2. I would seek to give credit in any situation where the act of giving that credit would lead to my committee members/ quad-mates growth. Furthermore, in any situation where others contributed more, in terms of direction, energy, leadership or love – then that person deserves the credit.

The Fulfillment Challenge. “Leaders like the front more often than the middle.” Q.1.

  1. Pro: you receive credit for the success of your organization.
  2. Con: you receive blame for the failure of your organization.
  3. Pro: you gain position, and thus, authority.
  4. Con: you gain high amounts of responsibility.

The Vision Challenge. “Championing the vision is more difficult when you didn’t create it.” Q.3. Seeing as I am applying for the Program committee again this year, I am going to be make sure that the entire committee has the commitment to excellence as last year. Furthermore, I have to accept that sometimes, the vision must morph to fit the needs of the many, as opposed to just me.

The Influence Challenge. “Leading others beyond your position is not easy.” As an Instructor at Yuens, I am often called on to accomplish tasks or lead people in ways that extend far beyond my position. However, I make it work because I have influence beyond my position, due the length of time I have been an Instructor and my personable personality. This allows me to have influence, and thus, lead those beyond my position.

Leave questions and/ or thoughts in the comments!

Debunking and Discussing Leadership Myths: 360 Degree Edition

John C. Maxwell likes to have his bases covered. To that end, he does his best to prepare those he instructs so that they may receive his instruction at their optimal learning level – as opposed to rejecting his wisdom because of a previous buy-in. Good ‘ol John took it upon himself to define the seven most common and relevant myths to leadership, and so in this blog post you will get to see a bit of some opinionated insight thrown onto some of John’s myths.

We will begin with the Position Myth. “I can’t lead if I am not at the top.” Q.1:  I choose to define leadership subjectively as influence, so I would argue that you can influence others from ANYWHERE in an organization. It’s true that a position may sometimes contribute to building a leader’s momentum; however, it is not a necessary component to influencing others.

Moving on to the Destination Myth. “When I get to the top, then I’ll learn to lead.” Q.3: It is easy to dream of being a great leader, and, taking it a step further, a great person – however the actualization of fantasies has to be accomplished through instilling values into yourself. I am going to become successful in all my endeavours because of my hunger for growth, and my willingness to ask questions to all my coaches and mentors.

The Influence Myth. “If I were on top, then people would follow me.” Q.2: Personally, I try not to follow and learn from those in powerful positions. I much prefer to look for those that inspire me, and those that are living a piece of the life I want to live – then, all I have to do is take whatever they can give me, and I’m one step closer to living my dreams.

The Inexperience Myth. “When I get to the top, I’ll be in control.” Q.2: In a leadership position or role, your responsibilities begin to go up, proportional to how high you go up the ladder. For example, during the Adventure Trip planning phase, the chairs of each committee need to be careful to consult with various committee members before making hasty decisions. If the chairs do this, they will gain access to a wealth of insight it would be impossible to find by themselves, simply because of the different values and thus different outlooks available from each committee member.

The Freedom Myth. “When I get to the top, I’ll no longer be limited.” Q.1: The Adventure Trip committee chairs are near the top of the food chain during the AT planning phase, but that does not mean they answer to no one. In fact, because of their higher position, they answer to MORE people. They directly report to Ms. Mulder, acting as the liaison between her and the overall committee; they must answer to the queries of the committee members, so as to keep healthy mutual respect and conserve momentum; and, they must answer to each other, because of how closely they are working together.

The Potential Myth. “I can’t reach my potential if I’m not the top leader.” Q.1: Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” What she means by that, is that you must agree to the concept of you being lesser, for you to become lesser. The choice to be inferior is up to you, not the person making the comment. Similarly, a position will only limit your potential if you choose to let it – if you choose to embrace every opportunity for limitless growth, and buy-in to the concept of your own infinite power, then no position can hold you back.

The All-or-Nothing Myth. “If I can’t get to the top, then I won’t try to lead.” Q.1: Honestly, this must be the most foolish myth of them all- to buy into this is to reject a better version of you because of events outside your control. Leadership is influence is power is legacy is respect and is the driving factor of success, in almost all of it’s definitions. To choose ‘not to lead’, is to choose to have less influence among others; is to choose to leave behind less of a legacy; and, ultimately, is to choose to be less successful in all your adventures. Choose growth! Choose the best version of you out of the lineup! No matter where you are in an organization, practice leadership.

Some of these myths are quite closely linked, and often if you buy into one, you buy into multiple. So how do you check if you buying into these Myths, right now? Well, the next time you are considering how you want to achieve something within your organization (committee), consider this: you are ALWAYS a leader, everywhere you are, and you have the potential to create change with others if you embrace the actualization of your best self.

^^Jamie Fajber is a grade 10 TALONS student. He enjoys writing poetry, long walks on the beach, leadership blog posts, and writing short third person bio’s in unnecessary places. He is qualified to chat about leadership because everyone is qualified to chat about leadership.

Building the Path: Indepth #1

Mount_Kilimanjaro

 

Mount Kilimanjaro. Standing at almost six kilometres tall, this monolithic summit is the largest mountain in Africa. Although most of the planned ascent is hiking, the trip up passes through snow, dangerous crags, treacherous bridges and narrow precipices.

kilimanjaro-peak

It can be a dangerous climb. To mitigate as much danger as possible, I need to be in the best shape of my life.

Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the components of my 3rd degree black belt test. Other noteworthy aspects include live knife defence –

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and a brick break.

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It will look something like this… but hopefully with hella better posture.

This test is shaping up to be the hardest thing I will have ever done, in my relatively short life. It is going to be mentally demanding, and – if I stay where I am now, physically impossible. I am not in the shape I need to be to tackle this challenge. I need to be stronger, I need to be more flexible, and I need to have more stamina.

Thus, this brings me to the point of this post: In-Depth 2015. As I began to realize that this year, I would not have the same amount of time or energy that I used on the In-Depth study last spring (refer to In-Depth 2014 posts to see that Poetry has consumed a large chunk of my life), I decided I would have to do an In-Depth that would fit into another area of my life.

Around this time, as I was considering my In-Depth topic, I was attempting to visualize a scenario where I could successfully complete the 3rd degree test – and I was failing to. Eventually, these two lines of thought intersected, and the vertex was: “Maybe I can combine my In-Depth and my 3rd degree test together! If I can use my In-Depth to get into shape, then I will be able to see if this test is even possible!” This realization sparked my passion, and eventual decision to do Strength and Conditioning as my In-Depth for 2015.

Over the next few months, I will be hitting the gym a lot more! Next week I am hiring a personal trainer to do an assessment of my current fitness levels. Following that, I will be using the trainer to help me set fitness goals that are in the stratosphere but still just obtainable. The plan is to hire that same trainer at the end of the project, so I will have concrete confirmation on whether or not I hit the targets I set out to hit.

One of the other paths I will be treading to gain some muscle and cardio endurance is through the ProFit Boot Camp, on Clarke Street.

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This is a gym that I went to during the summer that really pushed me to my limits with their 90 minute classes. I will be attending around 4 classes a week, and I hope to make some connections that will allow me to find a mentor that can perhaps give me some personal workout plans.

Speaking of personal workout plans… have you heard of Neila Ray? She is a fitness instructor that develops online, 30 day intense workout regimens for different sports.

This is her Martial Arts codex.

I will be beginning this, one month into the project. Hopefully her promises come through!

Using all of these resources, I hope to really make a noticeable impact on my strength levels – allowing me to live a healthier, happier life!