Losing Yourself In The Service of Others: Understanding Leadership Through Civic Engagement
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Losing Yourself In The Service of Others: Understanding Leadership Through Civic Engagement

What does it mean to be civically engaged and a leader in today's society?

Losing Yourself In The Service of Others: Understanding Leadership Through Civic Engagement
Reggie Dawkins

Let's face it. Civic Engagement within our generation is on the rise, but what are we really doing this for? Likes? Resumes? Recognition? While those are all great ways to feel appreciated, I believe that there is a distinct leadership that has been discovered within this generation. Like yin and yang, leadership and civic engagement are connected in many ways. And here's how you can discover ways you can become a leader through simply helping those around you.

Why should you be a community leader? Why should someone be civically engaged?

Well, Leadership can be good for you. And in fact, you can choose to lead and participate in ways that energize you instead of leading in ways that drain you. You can choose to work on issues that you care about. Taking on challenges that are fun, rewarding, or interesting.

Seriously. It's all up to you, that's the beautiful thing about leadership.

The day-to-day acts of community leadership are usually not as dramatic as portrayed on television, and they usually don't inspire a chorus of recognition. Still, as a community leader, you can make some type of contribution to the community around you. Creating a food drive, increasing voter registration in your community, getting rid of a toxic waste dump, or empowering others to lead are all activities that are heroic in their own way. Often, people lead because it helps them grow and expand their lives. And as a leader, you may need to communicate to large numbers of people, negotiate, and handle dicey situations. I believe listening to others is truly the hardest aspect of leadership. But you will become more confident in yourself and in your world if you trust in those who you desire to lead.

Many successful leaders started without confidence skills and some people that are leaders today once had a hard time saying anything in a small group (shoot, even I did.) If you are a shy person, take heart. You're not alone. You can figure out how to make your voice heard. It just takes some practice. No matter what your skills are right now, you can become a better leader if you work at it. You may find yourself doing things you never imagined you would. So now, here's the thing:.

Why does this all matter? The answer is this world needs more community leaders. The model of one leader at the top with everyone else at the bottom just doesn't work for communities. One or two leaders can't possibly solve all the complex problems that our communities face. With more community leaders, our communities will do better. The more people become leaders, the more problems we will solve. We need community leaders to think about and organize around many issues: youth development, economic growth, substance abuse, crime, the environment, health care -- the list goes on and on. We need leaders who are women, young people, people of color, low-income people, immigrants, people with disabilities and many others that have been told that they should follow others, not lead. We need leadership from all walks of life in order for ours to truly be an equitable society.

So, in the end leadership is not a title, but an action and that action is to serve the people in which you desire to lead. Let's make this world a better place.
A Snowflake
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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