Leadership: A True American Quality | Teen Ink

Leadership: A True American Quality

August 16, 2010
By Anonymous

For centuries, Americans have shown leadership at critical times, a quality requiring courage, discipline, and determination. There are people that will shrink when they are faced with a challenge, but the true American will rise to the occasion, and fulfill his or her role as a leader.

John C. Maxell, an inspirational author once said, “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” When Martin Luther King Jr. was not the famous figure that he is today, he was not looked at as the type of leader who had the potential to bring about revolutionary change, as he was just a pastor at a Christian church. But he had a “dream” that he knew was right and true, and he decided to pursue it. Martin Luther King was not motivated to pursue this dream of equality for all people because he had to, or for selfish reasons, but because felt strongly that it was time for equality to exist in America. Because of his sacrifice and many others’ great courage in overcoming this obstacle that faced our nation, generations of all people were given opportunities to be great.

A strong leader does not necessarily have to be a person. The Constitution uses its guidelines to help our country function and maintain a healthy balance of power. Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense can arguably be thought of in the same way. Common Sense influenced the colonists to rebel against Britain, a country that did not have the colonists’ best interests at heart. Had this document not been written, the colonists may not have rallied together to overthrow Britain and its tyranny. So in a way, Common Sense can be said to be a leading factor of the American Revolution, which resulted in America becoming an independent nation.

Each and every person has an opportunity to demonstrate leadership in his or her lives. I once faced a challenge when I had to complete a project in one of my classes at school. The assignment was to act out a scene from the novel, Gone With the Wind with three other people. I was excited about the project because it seemed like it would be fun, but my attitude toward it changed when I realized I had been assigned to work with three of the students in my class who all had a reputation for not being hardworking. Nevertheless, I took the role of team leader and began planning everything out while my fellow group members threw in some ideas every once in a while.

I would like to say that I influenced my group members to begin working hard and contribute to the project, but I didn’t. I ended up spending the entire night before the project was due writing the script for the entire group, and I wasn’t too happy about it. However, the time was well spent, because my group ended up getting one of the best grades in the class for our very, if not overly theatrical play. It was probably because of the effort I had put into writing the play, but as the saying goes, life isn’t fair. The lesson I learned was that true leaders are the ones who are always doing double the work that everyone else is.

This event showed me that in order to be successful and make a good grade on the play, I had to take charge, step up, and be a leader. This was just a small example of how important the quality of leadership is, but America has been shaped to what it is today because of men and women who became true leaders for our country at important points in history. Leadership. This is what makes a person an American, when they have truly exhibited this important value, which is when they have achieved greatness. True leadership is an act in which a person takes in less, but gives out more for the betterment of humanity and the earth as a whole. I aspire to someday reach this standard, so that I can influence others positively, and be a leader, like every other true American in this great nation.

The author's comments:
I wrote this for an essay contest, and the quote mentioned in the essay really inspired me throughout the writing of this essay

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