Leadership, leadership, where have you gone?

Taylor Rocca, Copy/Web Editor  Ω

Leaders walk amongst each and every one of us in all aspects of our lives.

Whether it’s Dustin McIntyre leading the way as TRUSU president or Alan Shaver heading up the administration at TRU, leaders are present on campus here at TRU.

The Oxford Canadian Dictionary defines leader as “a person followed by others.”

While leaders will have their followers, I’m not so sure that I agree with this stripped-down definition of the word.

Some leaders end up in power and don’t necessarily have followers, but rather strut around with a slice of lemmings.

So what makes a good leader? How do you define a leader, or leadership itself, within your existence?
As a former hockey and football player, I would tell you that a good leader motivates his teammates.
He exemplifies the type of behaviour and play that coaching and management expects from the rest of the squad.

He demands that his teammates perform to the best of their abilities and holds them accountable when they do not meet those expectations.

This isn’t just my opinion on leadership within sport. I truly believe that leaders on campus, in the workplace and in the classroom are responsible for those same things: motivation, exemplary behaviour and accountability.

So what happens when a leader falls short of their responsibility? What happens when a leader is not worthy of being followed?

We live in a democracy for a reason. In my humble opinion, when an elected official does not meet the expectations of the electoral population, the leadership responsibilities fall to the majority.

While it is the leader’s job to hold their people accountable, it is equally important for the people to hold their leader accountable. Just look at the political uprisings in Egypt, as examined by Samantha Garvey earlier this semester.

We see political uprisings on the international stage every single year. Yet, within the world of student politics, we rarely see any fight-back against lazy or unethical student politicians.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University in the Lower Mainland is the only example that I can readily name from my quarter century on this planet where a student body revolted against a corrupt or irresponsible leadership.

So why the apathy elsewhere? When a student body is unhappy with its leadership, whether that be the students union, a student club, the editor-in-chief at the student newspaper or someone else, why do students so rarely stand up for their rights?

Fortunately, I think we here at TRU are lucky to have a hard-working students union president.

We have a hard-working collection of student clubs.

We have a hard-working editor-in-chief at our student newspaper.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case across the board for other students or student organizations in the country.

I’m not trying to incite a riot.

I’m not trying to incite violence.

All I want to know is what happened to leadership? What happened to people holding their leadership to account?

Has our generation truly become so apathetic that we do nothing but shrug and say, “meh,” when our leaders shirk their responsibilities, speak ill of teammates or use their power to gain an unfair advantage or influence over constituents who don’t know better?

Personally, I’m sick of seeing power-hungry, egotistical and irresponsible leaders take the reins of once-respected student organizations.

I think it’s time those affected take back their leadership and demand nothing but the best from those claiming to be our leaders.

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