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Team player role as important as that of leader

Oct 23, 2020
Tribune newspaper article written by Jacklyn Slater

There are many theories on leadership, from the Great Man Theory (which states that only men can be leaders, and great leaders are born, not made) to the Trait Theory (which, in contrast, states that leaders are created through a variety of characteristics and situations).

While both theories seem to hold some truth, I believe that a true leader holds many qualities that cannot be listed in an ideology.

Port Colborne High School selected me to attend an event called Central Ontario Leadership Seminars, or COLS for short. At this weekend-long event, I learned how to develop and demonstrate certain leadership skills, and also learned that being a team player can be just as important as being a leader.

When I first attended the leadership seminars, I found myself in a very positive and supporting environment, just like at Port High. These factors, as well as many others, helped me develop my skills as a leader, as well as create and build many more skills. I attended seminars, debates, and participated in a variety of games in order to learn more about how to become a great leader.

This positive mindset and newly acquired leadership persona followed me back to Port Colborne, where I’ve been able to incorporate it in the many extracurricular musical and social justice opportunities Port High has offered me and my friends. I’m currently in the process of introducing Port High to a charity project called “Milk Bags Unlimited.” By attending COLS, I’ve been able to further develop my leadership skills, and likewise, bring these skills back to my community.

Furthermore, attending the Leadership Seminars also helped me learn to be a better team player. In certain situations, being a strong team player can even be of equal or greater importance than the role of the leader. By participating in group activities, I learned that sometimes it can actually be more difficult to be an effective team player than it is to be a leader.

Everyone wants to be a leader, but occasionally, the real difficulty lies in letting someone else take charge and being able to recognize and accept their role of leadership. Similar to a great leader, a great team player is a skill built upon a number of characteristics and situations. One of these characteristics is the ability to participate positively in teamwork. Being in multiple bands at Port High, I get to practise this skill quite often. But by attending COLS, I was able to expand my skills as a team player and incorporate these skills in my daily activities.

In life, there will be many opportunities where you’ll have to choose to be either a leader or a team player. These choices can be based on the situation, but also by skills that have been acquired through experience. By attending Central Ontario Leadership Seminars, I feel confident that I can fill the shoes of a great leader or support a great leader by being a strong team player.

Port Colborne High School made this important life skill set possible for me. By nominating me as a representative to attend COLS, PCHS provided me with a key opportunity to grow and develop my leadership skills.

– Jacklyn Slater is in Grade 11 at Port High