A Manifesto for Growing Leaders on Your Campus By Tim Elmore

Judging by the title you know this is a book aimed at helping prune leaders through schools, colleges etc. but I challenge that and say it could be used in just about any environment. Mr. Elmore talks not only about traditional ideas of leadership but also what it can and does mean to so many more people. How many people would never call themselves a leader and yet when given the responsibility of a task or project they are passionate about, take it by the proverbial horns, get some great help and run with it successfully? They are doubtless leading and yet maybe not in the one dimensional sense of the word. Personally I have two daughters who both show remarkable leadership skills but in very different ways and one of them definitely not in the way one would assume would be considered ‘leadership’. They also don’t necessarily want the task of leadership and yet each time there is a group project or decisions to be made they are right there making sure the others know their opinions. I love it – I fall under the category of ‘natural ability’ and want everyone to appreciate my ideas and therefore follow. I know that it unrealistic but I am also an optimist.

Mr. Elmore takes on the question of why we need to help grow leaders, how to spot different leaders and what the development process looks like. He also attacks the status quo of how teaching is mainly done in a very ‘left brained’ way to students, the majority of whom are ‘right brained’. We were audio learners, then visual and now have many kinesthetic learners and education isn’t necessarily keeping up. My oldest who is an art student at university cited a statistic that many children by the time they are in second grade have gone from loving art and drawing to saying they ‘can’t’ to anyone who asks them to create for them.

We are teaching kids how to pass tests and not necessarily learn with inspiration and motivation. This is not mud-slinging at teachers as I believe they have their hands tied as well with unruly classrooms and no power to control them – that’s another story. Who is identifying the kids who will begin to lead and especially the kids who fall below the top 10%? There are so many stories of extremely successful people throughout the world who didn’t do terribly well in the organized classroom setting. My hope is that this book and others that the same author has written will begin to be taken seriously in the world of academia. What can be more important than the next generation?

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