What is a Leader?

Leading is simple.  That is the premise of Random Acts of Leadership.  One way to remind us of this is to talk to children about what leadership means and what a leader is.  Kids don’t tend to complicate things the way we adults do.

In reading one of my favorite blogs Break the Frame, by Alli Pollin, I was inspired by an article contributed by her 10 year old daughter titled “What is a leader?”

With Alli’s permission I share it here.  Thank you Alli for your generosity and for continuing to provide insight and inspiration to fuel my leadership.  And thank your daughter for courageously sharing her wisdom.  Her insight at such a young age gives me great hope for our future.

What is a Leader?

A leader is a person who is brave with their learning.  They are always learning new things and taking risks.  If something is easy for them, they want to make it harder so they can learn more.

A leader never says you can’t play to others.  Everyone is included, not just three best friends; everyone.

You’re not a leader just because you get the most votes for Student Council.  You still need to listen to other people and not just say what you think, but ask and share what others think too.

What Does a Leader Do?

When a leader is done their work, they come around and help others to do theirs.  They want to make sure other people understand what they’re doing too.
Leaders are kind to other people because other people matter, not just themselves.
The leader is not the most important, we’re all important.  Leaders don’t act like they are the only ones that are important.  Leaders let other people say their opinion and decide together.

Decisions can be good for everyone, not just for one.

Why Do Leaders Matter?

Leaders are important to the world because it’s important to help other people and even more, they can make the earth a better place when they do what’s right for everyone.

Leaders show us what it looks like to always do their best.  They don’t always have to get “A’s” but they do need to try their hardest.  They don’t give up!

Instead of just getting their work done and going to recess without caring for the people who are left behind, they help others get their work done too so everyone can enjoy recess together.

Leaders help other people who are hurt because their pain makes them sad too.  Leaders care.

Can Anyone Be  a Leader?

Yes.  Everyone can be a leader, not just you or me.  You  have to listen when other people are talking and give others a chance to speak.  You also need to be helpful not only because someone asks you to be, but also because you want to be helpful.  Most of all, you need to care about what you do and make good choices.
Leaders have really big hearts, they do more than tell you what to do, they love you too.

What’s Your Advice for Leaders?

Let other people join in!   Stand up for other people and for what’s right.  Don’t be afraid – step up.


Enter A Comment

Alli Polin   |   15 October 2013   |   Reply

A sincere thanks for sharing my daughter’s post, Susan! When we started talking about it, my daughter told me that she didn’t know anything about leadership. Only when I told her I wasn’t looking for wisdom or secrets but simply what she sees and knows is true – and her words started to flow. I’m honored that you shared them here! Thank you!

Susan Mazza   |   16 October 2013   |   Reply

Honored to share her wisdom here Alli! Thanks for generously agreeing to allow me to do so.

Carl   |   16 October 2013   |   Reply

Susan, I enjoyed reading Alli’s daughters comments when she posted them on Break the Frame, and seeing them again today was a nice reminder to keep that child-like clarity when dealing with life’s complexities.

I’m thinking ‘recess’ should be a mandatory part of every business model.

Best regards,

Susan Mazza   |   16 October 2013   |   Reply

Wisdom worth spreading! I like your idea about recess 🙂 We all need some play in our day.

Jon Mertz   |   16 October 2013   |   Reply

Such an essential question to ask at any age! Enjoyed this post and insights from Alli’s daughter. Thanks!

Susan Mazza   |   16 October 2013   |   Reply

Thanks Jon. Great to see the wisdom brewing in the generation that follows the milennials – don’t you think?

Ara Ohanian   |   22 October 2013   |   Reply

Susan, thanks for your inspirational article, I’d add one point: sometimes, there are tough, unpopular decisions to be made. Who makes those decisions, because they know it’s right for the company and the team, it’s the leader.

Susan Mazza   |   22 October 2013   |   Reply

So true Ara – popular opinion is not always the best choice and leaders must be willing to make those calls. Thanks!

Leo J. Lampinen   |   27 October 2013   |   Reply

Wow, she is spot on with everything! Amazing how we tend to complicate things sometimes. Leading IS simple.

I shared it on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LeadershipVitamin

Susan Mazza   |   29 October 2013   |   Reply

Thanks for sharing Leo!

eric   |   30 October 2013   |   Reply

Hi, my name is Eric Lassard and I am so happy to find your Fb and articles. Yes, I am 10 only but had published my book, board game and also I am working on a program called the “Champion Elevator” that is the most simplest 4 level program to inspire kids and teens to lead. Please chek out http://www.tehwinneracademy.com and http://www.ericlasssard.com
Would love to connect and work together! Eric

  • What is a Leader? | AgileMinister | Agile, Lean... 29 July 2014, 29 July 2014

    […] Leading is simple. That is the premise of Random Acts of Leadership. One way to remind us of this is to talk to children about what leadership means and what a leader is. Kids don't tend to comp…  […]