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Webster's defines leadership as : "1. the office of position of a leader, 2. capacity to lead, 3. the act of instance of leading, 4. LEADERS." Dale Carnegie, founder of the Dale Carnegie Institute and teacher of leadership skills, defines leadership as a mixture of traits and skills that can be learned and honed. John C. Maxwell, founder of INJOY and professional speaker on leadership, agrees with Carnegie, but further states that there are five levels of leadership with the highest level being attained by only a few people.

So what really determines leadership? Does the position or office determine the leader or is it the capacity to lead? Just because a person holds a certain position in a company or in government does not necessarily mean they can be a leader. We can look at out previous President and see that the office does not make the leader. Because a certain individual has been promoted to a leadership position with a company, does that make the person a leader? They are expected to be able to lead, but what truly makes a person a leader? Is it a skill that can be learned, practiced, and enhanced by qualities that we are born with?

Leadership is a combination of traits, qualities, and skills that not only learned and practiced, but are not necessarily inherent qualities that a person is born with. To develop leadership we must become students of human relations. The we can become goon communicators and listeners, offer genuine appreciation and praise to others, and show others the respect they deserve. WE then must learn not to be overly critical, to harness enthusiasm, give people a good reputation to live up to, and keep a sense of fun and balance in out lives. These are all good qualities that one must strive to obtain to become a leader of people. Not only will they then reap the rewards of being a leader, but they will also begin to develop others into leaders, thus expanding their influence as well as building up the organization they are associated with. Not only is that a trait of a good leader but also that is a responsibility the leader must live up to if they wish to become a great leader. In his book, "Developing the Leader Within You," John C. Maxwell lists the five levels of leadership as:

1. Position ? the lowest level of leadership, based solely on title and position.

2. Permission ? as relationships are developed with others, they give permission to the leader to be led beyond the limits of his/hers job description.

3. Production ? as the group becomes more productive together, leadership is advanced.

4. People Development ? developing people and assisting them to reach their potential.

5. Personhood ? this requires a lifetime of developing others to their highest potential.

As we can see, the development of people into leaders is level four and wen a leader reaches this level, they indeed have become a great leader.

Why would anyone want to become a leader and exactly who can be seen as a leader? The obvious answers would be a boss, a pastor, a government official, a coach, and a corporate executive. There is another more important position that most people overlook when asked to list people that are leaders and that is teachers. Teachers should strive to reach level five more than anyone because due to their position they have the opportunity to influence the future of our country by influencing the minds of our children. Parents should also strive to become the best leaders they can so that they can positively influence their children and help to make our country, perhaps even our world, a better place as an end result. The latter definitely have been lacking in their duties as leaders for many years as can be seen by observing Generation Xers as they pass through our institutions of higher learning and ultimately into the work force of today. Most of these individuals have never been exposed to quality leadership in the home or at school; as a result, they not only lack the understanding of how important leadership qualities are, but fail to ever grasp the concept of leadership.

As parents and teachers we must develop the leaders without ourselves so that we can develop the leaders within our children and make a more positive impact on the lives of others and hopefully turn the situation we are now in around. WE have a responsibility, nay a duty, not only to our children, but also to our country and to the world we live in to do this. We must read the proper books written by quality leaders so that we can learn how to develop ourselves and "lead by example." When we ourselves learn what makes good leaders and practice these learned traits, we will find that in the end not only have we become better people for it, but we have helped our children to become better people as well.

Gary Glasscock provides qualtiy copywriting services to marketers and companies on an as needed basis. If you are in need of copywriting services, visit his website at or contact Gary at

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