The Difference Between “Leaders” and Leaders I want to Follow

A few months ago, I was invited to take part in a leadership training program which promised that its members were the best of the best and that I should feel honored to join their ranks. Except there was one catch. The membership fee was 90 dollars. Being the poor college student that I am, I could not afford to join. Recently, I was scheduled to work for the ceremony of this society in which the new members were inducted. The advisor of the society gave a speech congratulating the members on their motivation because they were the only ones responsible enough to return the membership money. And that got me thinking: Are these people truly leaders, or are they simply the only ones wealthy enough to pay for the membership? The invitations were based on GPA, which although important, does not necessarily correlate to leadership skills. Many of those inducted I knew personally and I would not call them leadership material (although they are most certainly upstanding citizens and good people). And don’t get me wrong, a few would make excellent leaders. But the leaders I would follow are not the ones that have a certificate or a fancy pin. They are not the ones are trying to amp up a resume or to gain some sort of acknowledgement. They are the ones making this world a better place. Not because they will get recognized for it, but because they saw a problem and stepped up to help. They are the ones that walk side by side with others rather than in front of them. They ignore the glory and the fame and the renown, and lead by example, helping others to succeed along the way. I hope that these leadership candidates will do this. But it strikes me as odd that a society trying to promote goodness in the world would place monetary hurdles in the way of those who, with a little help, could do just that. I am in no way claiming that I would be an excellent leader if only I had been able to afford the 90 dollar membership fee. But there are others who might have been. I also am not arguing that one needs to be in a leadership society in order to make a difference in the world. I am simply arguing that induction into such a society does not make one a leader. How you live you life does.

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