Our topic of focus for SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY DETOX & TREATMENT ’s word of the week series is leadership. When thinking of a good leader there are many characteristics that come to mind that necessitate leadership. Strength, honesty, willingness, determination, intelligence, charisma are just a few adjectives that could be applied to this integral role. The picture that I am trying to paint is that leadership can take on many forms and manifest in all types of individuals depending on the level of dedication, passion, ideas, and will one is able to exert. In my experience, the best leaders are the ones who prove themselves not just by what they do, but who they are. As history has proven, we can be capable of great feats, and many of these great feats are accomplished by great leaders. It could be argued that Hitler was a great leader. He was charismatic, confident, steadfast in his decision making, and for a time, the savior to a hopeless German consciousness. The obvious problem, if one were to make this argument, is that Hitler was also a genocidal maniac who used his influence for evil because his leadership was based off merely actions and not coupled with a virtuous moral foundation. In glaring contrast to this example would be a leader such as Nelson Mandela, who also captured the hearts and minds of his people, but who proved his leadership through his virtue. Instead of giving lip service to South African people, Mandela stood by his convictions and spent 27 years in prison because of this, only to be released and see his dream come to fruition by ending South African apartheid and becoming their President.
Whether we are leaders by job title, personality type, social role, or even if we wouldn’t consider ourselves leaders, we would all benefit from the application of leadership qualities. Leadership really isn’t even about a title or a particular designation. Leadership is about the impact you have on others, the influence you have to help someone grow positively, and the inspiration you instill in the soul of another. Personally, I have never considered myself a leader, and frankly, I have never really been interested in others following me. That being said, leadership is still a quality and skill that I try and hone daily. In recovery, leadership can be extremely important to lasting sobriety. If we can work not just on physical sobriety, but on our emotional sobriety, we can begin to operate free from the constraints of outside opinion and thought. We can start to trust our instincts and do what is right for us because it is right and not for an ulterior motive. The recovery community, which is so integral to so many individuals lasting sobriety, is a great place to begin personifying leadership traits because there are so many newcomers who need guidance. The better leaders we can learn to become, the more effective we can be to someone else in need. Here at SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY DETOX & TREATMENT , the clients as well as the staff is blessed to have one of the best leaders I have come to know in my life. Our Program Director, Salina Shuler, who embodies perfectly one of my favorite quotes on leadership, “Leadership, simply put, is the ability to unlock people’s potential to become better.”