Define it: “Leadership.”


Each passing day here at Central is a blessing, enhanced by involvement with my Leader Advancement Scholar Cohort.  The benefits we experience by collaborating with each other, working with the LI administrative staff, and taking classes together have been boundless.  To add to the list of benefits, I feel lucky and honored to have been able to meet with Central Michigan’s President.

President Ross came to our LDR 100 class, giving us his own definition

of leadership.  He illustrated his family life to us, and how he had to work incredibly hard to make it to where he is today.  President Ross took strides in life that the majority of his family did not; because of this, he landed administrative roles at college campuses across the country.  He owes his accomplishments to his value for education.  He stressed that his handwork in school propelled him to success.

After he shared with us his own leadership story, President Ross gave us the floor.  He asked us questions on why we chose Central Michigan University, what we plan to major in, where we are from, and how we define leadership.  A common response to “Why CMU?” was “LAS.”  This was powerful, knowing that the majority of us are here for the same reason.  Knowing that we have that connecting-factor felt good.  Hearing people in my class honestly share their definition of leadership was even more powerful.  People shed light on their personalities and desires with each individual answer, creating a vulnerability that I really appreciated.  Each answer was different, as there is no definite answer for “what is leadership,” but a common theme was “bettering yourself as well as the lives around you.”

Knowing that there is no concrete definition of leadership is empowering.  It allows a creative freedom for each leader in my cohort, including myself. I rose my hand and answered: “Leadership is always moving forward”  (You can read more about why I believe that here).  President Ross listened to my explanation, and simply replied with a quote:

 “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

                 – Will Rodgers

I took this quote as an agreement with my definition, and yet, it hit me; not only is important to define leadership in accordance with my beliefs, but also, to keep redefining leadership as life progresses.  I plan to take the lessons from meeting with President Ross, and continuously adapt and understand different definitions of leadership.

A song to accompany this post:

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