Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Right to be a leader.

Excerpt from "The Right to Lead", by John Maxwell

A good student of leadership can learn lessons almost anywhere. Recently I received this letter from a friend who discovered what it takes to lead up near the top of the world:

Dear John,

In August 1999, my wife, Minnietta, and I vacationed with some friends who live in a remote part of Alaska near Denali Park. One day they took us to visit their neighbor, Jeff King, who lives a few miles away. Jeff is a sled-dog racer who has won the 1,000-mile Iditarod race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, three times (1993, 1996 and 1998). It was a joy to experience Jeff's love and passion for his seventy huskies and his admiration for their maturity, strength, and courage.

Jeff told us that when he starts the Iditarod race, he starts with sixteen dogs and rotates the lead dog frequently to give all the dogs a chance to lead since every one of them wants to be the lead dog. Eventually, he finds the dog that is the real leader because it is a dog that is energetic and persistent in leading, and that dog becomes the leader of the pack. It is chosen as the leader because it leads; it is able to motivate the other dogs to follow by its own energy and enthusiasm.

Jeff told us that in 1996, the lead dog was a two-and-a-half-year old female named Jenna. That was very unusual since there were only two females in the pack. She was so young, and she was smaller than all the male dogs. But Jeff said with emotion, "She was our leader; when a blizzard came, she didn't give up. She kept barking and running even when the snow was over her head and inspired us all to keep going. Even at her young age, she has the mental maturity of a leader." When Jeff was congratulated for winning the 1998 Iditarod, he lifted up his lead dog and said, "Here is the leader who won the race for us."

John, I found this story very inspiring and hope you might be able to use it. Grace and peace.

Kent Millard


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