Leadership as Service
In a few weeks some of you will say goodbye to Henry Ford College and begin a new journey charted somewhere else perhaps in Michigan, elsewhere in the U.S., or somewhere overseas. Some of you may decide to stay at Henry Ford and matriculate more credits to transfer locally and continue your journey in higher education. Whatever you may decide to do after this semester or next, I would like to share with you the one skill that will be the most important element for your success in college and in your future career(s). The one most important skill that will make you stand out and shine beside your credentials and academic skills, is your ability to lead.
Most people have a false definition of leadership. Some think of leading by being the most powerful person in the room, others may think that leadership is born hence some are natural leaders and some aren’t. The worse kind of belief system is certainly the idea that leadership is all about being in control and by demanding respect and loyalty simply because someone is in a higher position. Leadership is about serving others and modeling a behavior where “giving is the main focus.” Whether you are going to be the engineer who is going to help Flint residents obtaining access to drinkable water, or the teacher who is going to inspire poor children to aim for a better future, you are serving as a leader. However, serving others may also include volunteering in your neighborhood or community. In addition to the great experience that you may generate while being a volunteer, you will certainly learn new skills to add to your resume.
Summer sessions are a great opportunity to rest and play but also to give back to others in the form of service. I invite you to take advantage of this opportunity in the coming weeks and channel your potentials and energy to change the world around you by promoting the principles of leadership as service.
I would like to end this letter by sharing this wonderful quote from Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Wish you the best of luck on your finals.