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Why You Can’t Be a Part-Time Role-Model

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on July 5, 2012

Leaders and role-models, whether they have sought out the position or are there by default, can’t choose to be part-time. Although many people lead reluctantly, they still lead. If you are one of these people, you must decide if you will use your position to influence people positively or ignore the responsibility resting on your shoulders.

Followers come from all aspects of life. They can be from your church, family, employees, readers, students, patients, friends, or peer group. And you influence them, all the time, even if you are going through a rough patch in your own life and don’t want to be examined too closely.

I know a teen who is a leader in his class, revered by his peers. Most of the time, he celebrates this role, enjoying the attention while positively influencing others. But when he started going through difficult and confusing circumstances, making the right decision became more of a chore instead of a reflexive response. And his peers noticed.

One day I gently reminded him of the role he played with the others. After some discussion, he hung his head low and almost whispered, “I don’t want to be a role-model anymore.”

Unfortunately, he couldn’t make that choice. Once you have followers, they exist until they decide to follow someone else.

Leadership cannot be a part-time job because:

You are watched all the time.
Have you ever felt as if you would like to live anonymously without influence over any other people? Usually when life is going well and productivity is high, you’re happy for others to imitate you. But when you don’t feel your best, you want to hide and struggle through life’s obstacles. Admitting you aren’t “succeeding” at life is difficult for many people, especially Type A personalities who find themselves in leadership positions so often.

You can offer hope.
Remember, followers need role-models for many reasons. Watching someone navigate through and survive hard times doesn’t just give an example of how to live, it also offers hope that it can be done well. Others who are trying to make it through traumatic situations or trials in their lives will commend you for your determination to persevere and overcome.

Your failure to lead positively will be analyzed more than your success.
There are people who seek out failure in others. It helps them feel better about themselves. If you lead positively for years, you might be recognized and appreciated for your leadership, or you might not. But if you drop out of your leadership role or turn your followers in the wrong direction, you will be definitely be recognized – and discussed openly –  and not in a good way. Obviously this is a self-motivated reason to lead effectively, but why provide others the opportunity to gossip and spread negativity in the world?

Are you a reluctant role-model? Do you sometimes wish it was a part-time job? Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way, so harness your positive attitude no matter what your situation. It isn’t always easy, but Jesus gave us the perfect example of being a full-time leader in dismal circumstances.

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4 Responses to 'Why You Can’t Be a Part-Time Role-Model'

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  1. Holly Michael said,

    Great thoughts to keep in mind. We are all role models. Always. To so many. It’s a nice thought to shrug this duty, but we shouldn’t.


    • Thanks, Holly, for your thoughts. I agree it would be nice to pick and choose when we set examples for others, but we definitely can’t. Blessings to you!


  2. […] Related Posts from Other Sources Why You Can’t Be a Part-Time Role-Model […]


    • Thanks for the link to your wonderful, thought-provoking post! I appreciate it so much.


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