Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You don't choose to be a role model

There was a great programme on Women's Hour recently in which a woman named Dreda Say Mitchell was being interviewed. She is a writer and a teacher yet is reluctant to call herself a role model. I am not getting at her, maybe she has never thought about it, but you don't get to choose whether or not you are a role model, especially if you have chosen to be in a position of leadership, as she has. You do, however, get to choose to be a good role model or a bad one.

Leaders are those who are followed. Those who seek out leadership positions have a duty to be good role models because more often than not, they are followed and copied, at least by some. Even if they are not followed or copied, their behaviour is scutinised and talked about. The members of The Wiggles understand that and never even jay walk just in case a tiny fan is watching. Some people do not seek out leadership positions deliberately but nevertheless acquire followers. Examples include some children in the classroom, some junior members of organisations, some neighbours, and every parent. Very few of us get away without being observed and copied, at least by some, and we do not necessarily know who is watching and maybe copying. To that end, it is likely that we are all role models and thus the choice we have is whether to be good ones or bad ones.

What's a good role model? That is another blogpost altogether...

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