College of Liberal Arts
Brian Houdek on Leadership
What does it mean to be a leader?
When asking this question you are opening yourself up to a vast array of definitions. People will say that a leader needs patience or strength. Others may say that a leader needs to be able to work well with others and guide others. Still others may say that a man or woman needs to have a strong character and be morally sound.
When I think of leadership I don’t think of qualities but rather people. I think of my dad whether when he was being a father to me or leading my scout troop as scout master. I see my friend Bill getting everyone involved and making sure they see themselves as important, because they are. I see my teachers and coaches who challenge me to grow, but never take the achievement or work away from me. I also see leaders in history. Leaders like George Washington who led an army into Washington D.C. I see Gandhi understanding the intrinsic value in all people and inspiring a nation to act. I see Martin Luther King Jr. fight and standing up for the rights of all people black and white.
Leadership is not a quality or a characteristic. Leadership is a being. It exists inside individuals. There cannot be leadership without people and that is what it means to be a leader. To find the courage inside yourself to make a difference and be the person God is calling you to be. I received the Patrick Goles Prize for Leadership but I do not see myself as a leader. I see this award as confirmation that I have potential to become a leader. It means that leadership exists in me but in order for me to become a great leader I must use the examples around me, like my dad or professors or friends. We all have people in our lives who lead us. Seek them out and learn from them so that the leadership that exists in you my come forth and make a difference.