Date of this Version
Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, Vol. 6, No. I-January 2008 ISSN: 1541-6224
Where does leadership begin and where did we ever get the idea that someone would follow us? I have been reflecting on this question a great deal lately, in light of the mountains of books and articles I have accumulated. Apparently, there are many people asking questions about leadership and many more who want to know the answers. Are leaders born or developed? How do great leaders transform failing schools and businesses into successful, thriving operations? What are the magic steps to becoming a great leader? You can read books on many different styles of leadership with promises that guarantee success if you only follow the correct model. Although these books provide useful and even inspiring information about leadership and on becoming an effective leader, they fail to answer the fundamental question of where leadership begins. That is because we are the only person who can reflect on a series of events in our lives and determine where leadership had its first sparks, which eventually led to an ignited passion that finds us where we are in our leadership roles today. In his book, Flashpoints (2002), Stephen Arterburn refers to these kinds of moments as "flashpoints" that can result in changing everything that follows. A small fire-a dream, a hope, a desire-smoldering quietly within the confines of your heart, begins to edge toward the flashover temperature. You begin to feel the heat, and as your passion grows, so do your inspiration, motivations, and determination. Suddenly, status quo is no longer satisfactory. You must take actions. You will not be content until the flame of your spirit kindles a wildfire in your soul, transforming your life and the lives of others. The flashpoint occurs when you are compelled to make a change-or make a difference-no matter what the cost (p. 2).