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About Gerard Costello
I am a Community Alert Development Officer for Muintir na Tire, advising and supporting Community Alert Groups in the Western Region of Clare, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Longford. I went back to collage as a Mature Student and studied Community and Family Studies for four years.
I am involved in various community committees.
Contacting Gerard Costello
You can contact Gerard by email.
By Gerard Costello
Well what do I know about Leadership, not a lot other than the word and some examples. However, as requested by the Leader of Congregation I have to put my thinking cap on and start thinking and learning. Words have different meanings for people and the word Leadership is no different. One can ask the question is there different meanings to the word Leadership. Why are we taking the word ‘Leadership’ as the topic for Congregation 2021?
There are many factors associated with the word Leadership and the more I learn the more I realise how little I know. The more I question the more I learn. Congregation gives a great opportunity to question and learn. I look forward to learning more about Leadership.
- For the purpose of this topic, I looked at the word leadership and decided to examine the word from a few angles to inform my learning. To start this writing I asked myself a few questions like:
- Why am I thinking and writing anything at all?
- What advantage will this exercise be to me or anyone else?
- What am I to do?
- What am I to say?
- What do I want to get out of this writing?
- What is Leadership?
- Who can carry out Leadership?
- Who knows what the correct Leadership is?
- Who is providing Leadership to my time on this earth?
- Who are my Leaderships?
- What Leadership do I provide?
- What have I to do with Leadership?
- Why have Leadership?
- Why was the word created?
- Is Leadership tangible?
- Is this exercise a waste of time?
- How do I simplify the word Leadership or why try simplify the word Leadership?
Answers to some questions could be very straight forward. However, straight forward answers to me could be complicated to others. The key to answers is asking more questions to understand what and why Leadership is needed or used. If I answered each individual question I would not have my submission in until 2022 or maybe 2023. However, some of the questions are questions I never thought about before and I will be interested to see what answers others would give in their take on Leadership. I am also interested to see if I have left out a question or two. After all my questions, I can give one answer that I think covers all the questions and just say, Leadership is a word, associated with something good we all need and something we do at times.
How Leadership is carried out depends on many different elements and people. However, for me the greatest traits in Leadership is honesty, trust and truth to others and for others.
The definition of Leadership requires examination in every aspect of its use. True Leadership is to influence, inspire and help others become their best selves, helping to build their skills and achieving goals along the path ways of life. It is always good to check out definitions to establish a process. Take the theory of three ways of doing something which are:
- Your way
- My way
- The right way
Where does Leadership fit into the result of doing something with those three ways. Leadership is there to be followed or avoided. However, not everyone has the skills to be a leader if everyone had then there would be no followers. Leadership style can vary and the expectations of leaders is often weighed heavy on the role and values. Sometimes people get confused between the word Leadership and Chairperson especially when it comes to getting something done. Description of action can be a great help to overcome confusion.
A definition of the word Leadership is, a person or persons who see something which needs to be done, be it for the good or bad of themselves or others and decides to go and front the idea. Leadership is the front to achieving success. While ultimate Leadership is, empowering others to become effective leaders as well. That’s why many iconic leaders have incredible mentors they cite for their success.
Looking at actions associated with Leadership, examples that interest me relate to the Leadership within religions over the years. I look at the great structures of old School Collages that are still in use and think of the word Leadership which was provided at a time to develop society. I think this from the aspect of never attending one. Other people look at old School Collages and tell me the words they think like, hell holes, places of brutality and torture – these words come from both attendees and non-attendees to these schools. However, in today’s world religious Leadership to some people is, stained. Again it is good to look back to be able to move forward. Look at the ruins of old Abbeys or Monastery’s, Friary’s and think what Leadership came from within these buildings. We have stately buildings where Leadership takes place at the moment, is it good or bad Leadership, again I ask a question. Because there are a lot of angles, definitions and purposes, they all need to be looked at when we question and try to find the right answer to Leadership.
Where is this train of thought taking me in relation to Leadership? Again a question can be asked, did those who worked in old School Collages provide Leadership back in the day when the Schools were new and do they still provide Leadership? For some people the Leadership shown by those who ran the old School Collages was a great empowerment and to others disempowerment. To go forward sometimes one must look back and realise there is good and bad. Learn from the past, look forward to the future and getting involved with positive Leadership. We can struggle with labels but at the end of the day if we don’t have labels no one knowns who we are or we don’t know who others are. We are fortunate to be able to take or leave the label of Leadership in many situations.
Followers need to learn what to expect from modern Leadership and understand what is required from the modern leader and the same can be said for Leadership. We need to appreciate the regulatory frameworks associated with Leadership, the impact upon society, organisations and its strategy. Leadership needs to have clarity about the values and vision of the people who follow. Trust is a key word when it comes to Leadership and trust works both ways. We have to trust our leaders to make the right decision sometimes on our behalf rather than take the decision ourselves. True leaders should be willing to weather the storm and lead a revolution for something they believe in. Leadership especially Leadership in Government and Board of Directors should be well informed on their Leadership roles, actions, principles and guidelines.
Take the word business and look at the word Leadership in business and think. When a business becomes everybody’s business it soon becomes nobody’s business. This I said before is the evolving structure of society and without the support of formal Leadership and governance, society is going to become wild and out of control. The onus is on Government, Institutions, Society and Communities to work in partnership for a just and equitable Leadership. We can’t be all involved in Leadership we need followers to help. Leadership is usually looked at in the light of, governance, community or business and seldom looked at when it comes to our personal way of life. At some stage of our lives we need Leadership be it in childhood, in adolescence, as adults or in old age. At some stage in life we shown leadership to others. Leadership should be look at in the light of Glass half full not half empty. Leadership is the Glass; followers are the contents with the option of filling the Glass creating the need for more Glasses.
Leadership should not be a one stop position in any activity. When one person takes on the role of Leadership they use their knowledge to influence and empower the Leadership opportunities of others. However, most people become diminished and lazy and leave all to the Leadership, thus creating delay in progress. Leadership isn’t just a position that one is appointed to, it’s a skill and a tool you can continually cultivate and use to create lasting change. The importance of Leadership has many aspects in people’s life. It is a skill which can be used in relationships and personal improvement.
Leadership is about creating and sustaining positivity in one’s life and the lives of the people around them. In life we take on Leadership roles without even knowing. Everyone can become a leader. However, Leadership when we look at the word there are two words in one, Leader and Ship. Leadership, simply leading the ship. Leadership is as natural as a ship in water, on a mission, on the sea, being lead one way or the other, up and down, in and out, in good times and in bad. Leadership, comes from the captain.
When it comes to previous Congregation topics, Community and Society, Leadership is starting to bring the image together, of a struggling (developing) country that is at a crossroads especially in Rural Ireland. Open to correction, but this thinking is based on the issues and problems of Crime, the inadequate Health services, strain on teaching, unaffordability of Homes and the rising cost of Living. Leadership was a lot of the time provided by the Garda who lived in the Garda Station, the G.P who lived and practiced in many rural villages, the Teachers who lived locally, the Priest who lived in the Priest house beside the Church. They had knowledge and with knowledge comes power, maybe too much at times. However, today in Rural Ireland these pillars are fragmenting or lost in some areas leaving a void to be filled in Leadership and services. The makings of other discussions.
To conclude, I have become a great believer in definitions, in asking and the purpose. When definitions and purposes of an action are known, it is much easier to understand Leadership. To help people understand Leadership better, a simple definition along with key principles should be provided. This could help resolve a lot of confusion and resentment.
Leadership should not be looked at or used for individual, personal power control but in the way of empowering others to improve on needs. Leadership needs to be supported by followers. More talking can help Leadership actions. Leaving the Leadership role to one person can be helpful in some areas of life. However, over load, over burden and isolation can have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of Leadership.
After all that waffle about Leadership, the Followers must not be forgotten. Because without Followers there would be no need for Leadership. A balance is needed between Leadership and Followers. At the end of the day as a follower, if I didn’t write something the Leadership involved with Congregation would not let me join. Without the Leadership of someone, very little progress or action will happen. So hats off to Leadership, well done and keep up the good work. It takes a genius to simplify things, but it doesn’t take a genius to complicate things. Over thinking and over writing can reduce Leadership so I will stop now.