Being a leader can seem like a glorified and glamorous position, because most leaders are in the spotlight and forefront of the mission or project. Every one wants to be a leader, but what does it take to be a good leader? What is good leadership, and why is leadership so important? A leader is simply defined as someone who guides or commands a group, but there is much more to a leader than that. Here in the CTF, we are not only training people to fight but we are continuously shaping the next generation of excellent leaders. Let’s use the word Leaders as an acronym to gain an in depth view of what good leadership looks like.
For this acronym, the L in Leaders represents Love. It is impossible to be a good leader if you do not love and have a passion for the very mission or project you are pursuing. Love is the very fuel that drives persistence, consistency and it even prevents burn out. Leaders also love their team as a whole, as well as the team’s ability to perform. This also ignites a team to press through opposition and obstacles they may face. In your Taekwondo training, remember why you fell in love with martial arts and what goals you have set for yourself.
The first E in Leaders stands for Excellence. A leader must always work in the spirit of Excellence. That means no short cuts or cutting corners. It means everything they do and produce must be to the best of their ability, because they set the pace for their team. It means hitting deadlines, keeping promises and continuous communication. Operating in the spirit of excellence also means consistency even through hardship. In Taekwondo class, this could be as simple as not being lazy. Don’t just go through the motions, but push yourself a little harder then the day before.
A good leader knows that their team plays an important role in their success and regularly acknowledges that. This is why the A in Leaders is for Accolades. A good leader is not egotistical and does not mind giving his team a pat on the back or kudos when necessary. A good leader knows their team works harder when they know they are appreciated and strives to reward accomplishments. After class is over it is okay to tell your teammates they did an excellent job on their kicks. Compliments are usually appreciated.
D stands for Delegate. A good leader does not stretch their self thin by performing every task themselves. They know each team member’s strengths and which task to assign them. They know all to well that there is no “I” in team and that teamwork makes the dream work. In Taekwondo, this could mean asking for help when you need it. Don’t be afraid to tell someone if you are having a difficult time and be open to receiving help.
The second E in Leaders represents Example. A good leader does not live by the motto “Do as I say and not as I do.” A great leader leads by example, and is always willing to do what he asks of his team. If a leader wants his team to be on time, he is early. If a leader expects consistency from her team, she is consistent. If a leader wants mercy from his team when he makes mistakes, he himself shows mercy. The speed of the leader is the speed of the team. A leader can never expect her team to climb higher than she has. In your Taekwondo class, this could mean showing up on time, being prepared for class, having a great attitude, and following instructions to the best of your ability.
No leader is perfect, and does not pretend to be. A good leader has the integrity to admit when he or she is wrong and does not blame others for their downfalls or shortcomings. This is why the R in leaders is for Responsible. A good leader takes responsibility for the rights and wrongs of the team because a good leader knows that a team is merely a reflection of their leader. In Taekwondo this could mean not blaming others if you misbehaved, but being honest, admitting you are wrong, and correcting your mistake.
S maybe last, but is certainly one of the most important characteristics of a leader. S is for Servant. A leader serves his team, her community, and those in need. The greatest people among us are those that serve others. A good leader does not put himself upon a pedestal to be admired while others do all the work, a good leader works hard and sometimes harder than the team to get things done. In Taekwondo class, serving could mean taking the time to help someone who may be struggling with their forms, helping someone put their groceries in their vehicle, or asking your instructors or Counselors how you can assist them.
Homework: What leadership qualities do you already have? What qualities could you work on? This week work on being the best leader you can be. Set your goals for class and passionately work on them. Don’t be lazy, push your self to achieve great things. Let your team/classmates know they are doing a great job. Be sure to ask for help when you need it. Be a good example in class and everywhere else you are. Take responsibility for your actions, and last but not least go out there and help someone!