Joseph Lalonde became a leader when he got fed up with the fact that bad leadership seemed to be norm. He has now been embracing his role as a leader for over 15 years, and he’s one of the top 50 leadership bloggers in the world. He shares leadership insights on his website, and he recently chatted with us about turning young people into leaders and other aspects of leadership.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to where you currently are professionally as a leadership expert?
My leadership journey has been a long and winding road. However, it started when I became willing to step into a leadership role within my youth group. I’d just returned to the church I was raised in and they needed help. When approached by the youth pastor, I willingly said yes. For the past 15 years, I’ve been leading youth week in and week out. This past year I’ve been on a new journey. I left this role and have been seeking direction on where my next leadership position will be.
Do you have a favorite quote that expresses what you believe about leadership and turning you people into leaders?
Andy Stanley once said “Leadership is a stewardship, it’s temporary and you’re accountable.” This has been a driving force behind my leadership beliefs. When I think about leadership and how it’s temporary, I realize my duty is to do well with what I have, then pass it off to the next leader.
Do you think any young person has the potential to be a leader?
I believe the ability to lead is within each and every one of us. My belief stems from the fact that, even if we’re not leading others, we are to lead ourselves. We have to think about the decisions we make throughout the day. We have to choose whether or not to take action. We are all leaders in this sense.
What’s the first step an aspiring young leader should take?
The first step an aspiring leader should take is to begin serving others. This is the heart of leadership. To help others get to the place they want to be. Wherever you’re at, find a way to serve. Be willing to clean the bathrooms. Be willing to empty the trash. Be willing to do what others won’t.
What are some of the ways that you think leadership skills can best be developed?
Everyone has a different learning style. This impacts the way others develop their leadership skills. For myself, I’ve found a few effective ways to become a better leader:
- Read great books: Books are a great way to help you learn new ways to lead. Experts in leadership have devoted their lives to sharing the leadership lessons they’ve learned throughout the years into books. Use these vaults of knowledge to move you forward.
- Ask for help: To the average Joe, this may not seem like a way to learn about leadership. That’s why they’re not moving forward. By being willing to ask for help, you can get the insights from someone who’s already surpassed your leadership ability. They’ve been in your spot before. And there’s a good chance they’ve asked for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s a stepping stone to a higher place.
- Take on projects no one else is willing to: This is a practical action step. Want to lead better? You’ve got to lead. Taking on a project no one else is willing to allows you to be in a leadership position. You can lead the charge and get the experience you need.
What things should a leader should never do?
There’s a plethora of things a leader should never do. Let’s focus on three things:
- Never pass the buck.
- Never think you’re better than those you’re leading.
- Never be unwilling to do the simple tasks.
Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
You’ve got so much potential. Within every person there’s a leader waiting to be released. Take the steps required to become the leader you were meant to be.