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True leaders excel in all phases of life


People in Central Iowa are always trying to stick up for our community, defend Des Moines and make efforts to develop the city into a place that people want to migrate to and are proud to call home. Des Moines is full of past, present and future leaders who have all had a hand in making it the place it is today. These leaders have put their time and money into economic and social development. They have done so because they are committed to growth in Central Iowa and want to make this an attractive community.

During my relatively short career thus far, I have had the opportunity to relocate to other large cities throughout the Midwest. Yet, there is something that continues to keep me and my family in Des Moines. Maybe it’s the people. Maybe it’s the solid educational systems that are in place. Maybe it’s the variety of employment opportunities that are available here. Whatever it might be, we continue to call Des Moines home.

Our city is full of opportunities for young people to get involved and make a difference. Many believe that some people are born leaders. Though this may be the case in some instances, there are a variety of ways that people can develop the skills necessary to become a leader. So the question is, what does being a leader in the business community look like? I believe that people are classified as leaders because they excel in three areas: (1) their personal lives, (2) their work lives and (3) their community.

Many people’s first attempt at leadership is to dive into the community, sacrificing their personal life or career to be in positions of leadership. I believe you must first be a leader in your personal life at all times. If you survey the current list of leaders in Des Moines, first and foremost, almost all of these people are leaders within their homes. They are excellent spouses, fathers, mothers, brothers or sisters. They would never jeopardize their relationships with those closest to them for the title of leader.

If your spouse and children don’t look up to you for leadership, how can your community? If my child does not see me as his or her hero, then maybe I should develop my leadership skills in that arena first.

Once you have captured the title of leader within your family, push for the same achievement in your career. Look at the people who run your company. How did they get there? Most are in their positions of leadership because they care about doing things right and with integrity. They care about their co-workers. Read your current job description and then think bigger. Look for ways to get involved inside your company.

For example, most companies develop committees to head up their annual United Way campaign or are looking for people to coordinate activities for company outings. Most company leaders have volunteered on various committees or chaired some of these groups. They have worked above the essential functions of their jobs, thriving on being involved and on helping others.

Finally, be a leader within your community. Take time to volunteer for a good cause. You’ll find hundreds of opportunities to participate in charitable organizations. Get a list of the various non-profit organizations within your community and locate one that best aligns with your value system. Pick one that hits closest to home. Contact that organization and see how you can help. Not all of these organizations are looking solely for monetary contributions. Most have a ton of ways for you to help them achieve their mission. You just might be surprised how quickly you develop that title of leader.

Brent Macke is an account executive in the employee benefits division of Holmes Murphy and Associates Inc.

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