By Haley Keenan, Class Fellow
This was our first meeting for the LEADelaware Class III. We started off with introductions and telling a little about ourselves. After the ground rules, we jumped right into the first presentation: “Finding the Leader Within.” As we soon learned, there are many definitions for the word leader, but while some may fit and some may not, individuals are left to choose what they believe is a leader. Anyone can be a leader.
Prior to the presentation, I had not considered this. I always thought of a leader as someone in a position of authority, like a boss or a politician. While these examples are correct, I was leaving out the less notable leaders of communities, groups, and families. This led to the next point of the presentation – is a leader born? Or can it be taught? There are theories that debate this such as the “Trait Theory”, the” Great Event Theory”, and the “Transformation Theory.” According to the “Trait Theory” an individual is born with certain characteristics that destine him/her to be a leader. The “Great Event Theory” is thought to make a person a leader when he/she goes through something that changes them. And the last, the “Transformation Theory,” suggests that being a leader can be taught and a person can develop habits that make them a leader. Throughout the session we kept returning to these theories.
Our first speaker for the session was Matt Haley, a local restaurant owner and entrepreneur. After hearing his background in business, I had assumed that he would be speaking about his leadership within his restaurants but it turned out to be something much more inspirational. Matt Haley was not only a leader within his businesses, but within his local and global community as well. He has taken his successes and is helping those who need it. After hearing all he is involved in, I was surprised he still had time to stay involved in his businesses. He countered this by explaining that another aspect of a good leader is to be able to identify the right people for the right job, and that it’s perfectly fine to appoint or hire people for the jobs and tasks that you may not have the time or the skill to complete yourself. Matt Haley was a great choice for a speaker because he showed us that being a leader in the community is just as important as being a leader in the work force.