Leadership in today’s society is one of the most imperative, influencing, resonating and, yet, forgotten ways of being. One aspect that isn’t stressed enough is that of personal leadership and the influence this concept can potentially have on YOUR life; leadership is not just a function or a role, it is a way of being.
There are several characteristics that are attributed to leadership. Depending on the theorist or model of leadership characteristics/attributes there are many, such as: integrity, humility, people skills, discipline, vision, etc. However, it is not the building of these attributes that are most important it is the focus on the process that is most important.
There are four stages, according to John Maxwell, that the development of leadership follows:
I don’t know what I don’t know.
When one doesn’t allow themselves to know what they don’t know, they don’t grow. Growth occurs when we invest our time, energy and mental resources towards learning something new. If we do not know that we do not know “that something,” then we cannot be open to learning it! The idea here is to be open-minded to new experiences.
I know what I don’t know
This stage centers around the enlightenment of now knowing what it is you didn’t previously know (and didn't have any idea you didn't know it). This opens the opportunity for you to become aware that there IS something that you DO NOT know and now can devote the necessary time and energy to learning it!
I grow and know it
Stage three is that critical point in which you learn and know it and since you have put in that time and energy you grow. This is the stage where you know it and grow.
I simply go because I know
Stage 4 is moving on because you know what it is you once didn’t know. All of these stages flow to this critical point of moving on. Beginning with not knowing you don’t know, to knowing you didn’t know, then learning and knowing which means you are growing and then simply going because you know! (Make sense!?)
So… How does the relate to bullying?? When you are faced with a bully, run through in your head these four stages. Where is the bully at? Are they completely oblivious and don’t know they don’t know and are just in their natural state!? It is possible that they don't know they are being a bully, but this is pretty unlikely.
How about knowing that they don’t know something? More likely! Think about the continuum of behaviors that are possible when met with an obstacle that leaves you feeling scared, frightened, uncertain, awkward, lacking intelligence, not fitting in, etc. Some handle the situation very well and are able to cope. Others learn that they need to be defensive and attack those that ‘make’ them feel this way. Bullies are often just confused, scared, and awkward people, lacking the ability to comprehend anything they don't immediately understand. If that bully were going through this model of actualizing their information, perspectives, and commitments they most likely would not be bullying.
Here is where YOU get to be the leader. There are dozens of attributes linked to great leadership. However, at the base of great Personal Leadership is a focus on the process. The process is the key to growth and living in a way that will increase your ability to openly see the perspectives of others, increase your own personal responsibility to being a fuller human being and make more of an impact in your organization/community. As one professor and mentor of mine says, “Stay curious and prepare for surprise!” Thinking about bullying in this way may cause you to surprise yourself (and the bully.)
For more on ADHD and leadership visit www.andrewpebley.com