Leadership is not something that happens instantly.
Becoming a leader is something which happens slowly, over time, and with effort.
My question of you, is who was the first person to recognize you as a leader?
For me, I was first recognized as a leader by my golf coach in high school, Mr. Behler. Mr. Behler loved the game of golf and fortunately for us as his players, he was also a typing teacher at our high school. He was a great man and made a positive difference in my life and the lives of many of his players.
As a junior in high school, Coach Behler became our golf coach and he knew the history of my performance on our team and in our high school league (our league consisted of five other nearby schools in the foothill area of Northern California). Coach Behler knew that I was the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of our league as both a freshman and a sophomore. To be MVP at such as young age–twice–was rare and displayed my talent better than anything else.
However, what Coach Behler did not find out until he was our coach was how I was respected and liked by both my own teammates and other players in our league. Often he heard from other players on other teams about how they expected me to be cocky, aloof, and snobby; but when they did meet me they were surprised to meet a down-to-earth guy who was professional and courteous.
With that, Coach Behler gave me the name “Cap” which was short for “captain.” Often coach would ask, “Where do we want to go to eat, Cap?” referencing what my thoughts were about going to eat at a particular restaurant. Or he would say, “Kaiser is playing good, do you have any tips for his swing, Cap?” asking for my input to help a fellow player.
Like most things in life, I did not realize that Coach Behler was recognizing me as a leader and giving me that influence until I had graduated high school and moved on to college. However, I still deeply appreciate the positive influence and belief he had in me as a player and a leader.
For you, the Learning Leadership Blog reader, I encourage you to take some time to think about who the first person was who recognized you as a leader and work through the following questions:
- Who was the first person to recognize me as a leader?
- Why did he/she recognize me as a leader?
- Did I take advantage of that opportunity to be appointed as a leader?
- What could I have done different to do more as a leader when given the opportunity?
- What did I learn from that person who recognized me as a leader?