Great Leaders are strong and courageous, Great Leaders have empathy, Great leaders have vision, and most of all Great Leaders value people's interest more than their own.
First what is a Leader?
If we surf the web, we’ll be able to find millions of answers to that question. Everyone has a different view of what a leader is or should look like? But if we do a summary of what everyone thinks of a leader the conclusion will be; a leader is a person who takes the lead and encourages others when necessary. He/she knows how to motivate and lead a group, an organization, or a country toward progression. A leader is someone who has the capacity to influence others, and in some cases change their lives. Surely, we all heard that expression before: good leaders are made not born! We disagree with that.
Even though there is some truth to that, however, to become a great leader, first that person has to be born leader; not made one. It doesn't really matter how much intelligence a person may have or how many opportunities that are surrounding him/her. If that person can’t feel others to a point where he/she inspires them; the chance is that leader will fall short from his/her mission. The point is, someone can’t just get up one day and decide to become a leader due to the fact that he has so many opportunities and considers himself/herself as being intelligent and highly educated; the chance is that individual would fail miserably; history has shown that to us on many occasions.
We don’t need to look very far to see evidence of that, it’s all around us. That’s why most of the world leaders, especially in developing countries like ours (Haiti), they put their needs before the needs of the people who elected them, because their purpose was never about lifting the population out of poverty or changing the country’s image nationally and internationally; they only use the word “people” as a gate way to satisfy their shameful ambition. They use the public office to resolve their own chaotic financial situation and enrich themselves while the needy ones are becoming needier, and while hopelessness, anger and frustration fill the heart of those without voices that can be loud enough to be heard.
We notice that every 5 years the Haitian population elects a new president. On each of these occasions a group of people become richer, in a country where 80.2% of the population can’t even afford to put a decent meal on their tables on a daily basis. We are not short of leaders in Haiti and around the world, but what we are short of are leaders who care enough for the well-being of their own people, not themselves or their entourages; in order words, we are short of great leaders in Haiti. A great leader is built with the right behavior and relationship mannerisms. A great leader is respected and trusted because of his/her integrity, positive attitude, wisdom, determination and his/her sense of commitment. As you all can see, most of those skills are born with, they are natural not learned from a reputable institution. If you can’t feel or inspire others, being a leader is simply the worst position for you.
Great leaders are strong and courageous, they act on what they believe is right, even when it is difficult to accomplish. This does not mean that they are not afraid, or intimidated by a situation from time to time, but great leaders find a way to summon the courage to move forward when others would shrink away from the challenges. It takes courage and determination to push into the unknown, go against the grain or speak out when you aren’t sure if your opinion will be popular or not. It has been said that courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to go forward in the presence of fear. The difference between great leaders and ordinary leaders is that when the storm hits, those ordinary leaders save themselves, then the people if there’s chance, while great leaders save their people first, and then themselves if there is chance; in other words, great leaders put peoples’ interest before theirs.
Great leaders have empathy, they are able to put themselves into other peoples’ shoes and feel their pains. When a leader is able to sincerely feel and understand other peoples’ pain and suffering, and willing to do everything he/she can to help as leader; this immediately connects him/her with those people he/she is leading. Great leaders don’t think themselves as better or above those that they are leading. In fact, most of the time they are anxious to get into the ditches, roll up their sleeves and get to work right alongside of those that they are leading. Leaders who have empathy earn the hearts and trust of those they are leading.
Great leaders have Vision. Great leaders always know the “why” that’s behind the “what” that they are doing. They also have the ability to help other people catch the vision of the “why” so they can accomplish the “what”. When the cause is just and we have leaders who can share the vision of the cause, special things definitely happen. Great leaders always care for the people, because they are able to see the good in them and strive to bring out the best in them. They can be trusted and are unwavering to their commitment to a person or a cause.
They accomplish great things because those around them can feel how much they care. They know when it’s time to lead, and then take action. They don’t stand on the sidelines expecting someone else to do something when it’s time to act, they recognize the moment, mobilize and take action. Great leaders take control of their destiny and don’t leave it in the hands of fate. Great leaders rise up and lead when it’s time to lead. This is the types of leaders that we need in developing countries, especially in Haiti.
What we do at Brice Foundation is simple but complexe. Our journey begins with locating those future leaders in high schools, colleges and universities, and then we frame them financially and professionally in the adventure of becoming future leaders who can make a difference in their communities, countries, and perhaps the whole world. We also look for them in the streets as well, because there are so many children with such a potential in the streets. However, the lack of opportunities has forced them to take a different route in life.
We help those children or youths to turn their lives around and find their true purposes in life. We help them get good education at little or no cost to those without any financial support, and facilitate them access to have at least one meal a day while in school. We also give them access to non-contaminated water, shelters, clothes to wear and counseling sessions if needed. For those who are partly capable financially, we help them pay for their school so they can have a better and a brighter tomorrow. In other words, we help those children to accomplish their dreams so they can help others out when they get to where their true calling and purposes in life may take them. Our program is more like pay it forward; we encourage and support them so they can have the ability and the possibility to support others.
At Brice Foundation, we help change people’s lives so tomorrow they can go back to their communities and villages to do the same thing. But in order to make this program available to as many children as possible we are asking for your help and support. So if you find "Framing Future Leaders" to become great leaders a good and an interesting project, please help us through our journey of fighting poverty, promoting better education and financial independence.