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Consider what is best for the community

There have been some major developments in Weirton municipal government over the last several days. To be honest, it’s kept me up most nights this week with a variety of thoughts. I’m not going to get into most of that right now as I’m not sure it’s the appropriate time, but one thought has been constant throughout it all.

The term “leadership” has been thrown around quite a bit in the last few months, and it’s had me thinking about what that truly means.

There are, of course, different styles of leadership, but the main idea is that a leader is someone who sets a goal and can then inspire others to work toward that goal.

Warren Bennis, considered a pioneer in leadership research, has been quoted as saying “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”

But it’s more than that. Leadership also means, in the midst of inspiring others to reach your goal, you also find ways to bring out the best in them and the situation. You encourage teamwork, standing alongside your group. You provide a good example for those watching. You put aside the personal differences and set your sights on determining what is the best for the whole group and not the individual.

Leadership is not about ego. It is not about creating a legacy or getting credit. It is not about proving someone else wrong and proving you are right. It’s not about turning one group against another.

Leaders are humble. They understand not everything is going to go their way; that sometimes they are going to have to take that “L.” When that happens, they reflect, see how they could have handled things differently, learn, and get back up to try again.

You don’t become a leader by being elected to an office or by being appointed (or hired) to a position of public trust. You may even have years of experience in certain types of roles, but that doesn’t make you a leader. It doesn’t happen by taking a class or going through a program.

There are a multitude of projects being discussed in our community right now. All of them, in the minds of those involved, are for the betterment of the community as a way to build the future. Some of those projects aren’t going to happen.

Of those that do, it will because a team came together, inspired to bring hope and opportunity. The leaders involved in those projects are doing it for the benefit of others. It’s not about getting credit. It’s not about getting your name written in some book or engraved on a plaque. In 30 or 40 years, most people living in our area aren’t going to know who was involved in bringing a business to the Ohio Valley. They aren’t going to know who helped to develop a new municipal facility.

Their focus will be on whether there are jobs here, whether their public services (water, sewer, fire, police, etc.) are being provided and whether they can build a life here for their own future.

There are leaders in our community and there are people who should be but aren’t. It is time for all of them to consider what they are doing and whether it really is for the best of this community.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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