Leadership from Of Mice and Men and Comparison to Real World

Leadership Examples from within Of Mice and Men

  • Communication Skills
  • Vision
  • Work Ethic
  • Influence-Mentoring
  • Taking care/responsibility of others

 

Leadership Examples Observed in the RWL Program– Comparison to Of Mice and Men

Work Ethic – Hard Work
Many people have the potential and talent to become great leaders, however their potential is never reached. Failed leaders may have valid and obtainable goals, but say, “It’s too hard,” or “I can’t do it,”. Robert Frost once said, “The difference between a job and a career is the difference between forty and sixty hours a week.”

While working at different worksites it was very easy to determine if people viewed their work as a job or a career. Those leaders who had developed a career were consistently the first people to show up and the last to leave. They worked as hard as possible to propel their company forward, whereas there were also cases of people showing up just to punch the clock and trying to hide from work all day. There were a handful of cases where people would try to show up late and leave early and spend time on social networking sites and cell phones when they thought that the boss was not looking. While it might be typically expected of the boss to show up a few minutes early before the workers show up, at the worksites I saw a few great leaders, bosses and employees alike, who were the first into the office and the last out. Those leaders were successful, putting in more than sixty hours a week without signs of fatigue. Contrarily, there were some employees who stood out at their skill for evading work. One employee in particular would do every type of job to escape the role of his position. While avoiding the tasks he was supposed to be doing he was actually creating more work. If he had rolled up his sleeves in the beginning and applied himself to his job he would have had an easier time.

John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men illustrated varying levels of work ethic during the Great Depression, an era when economic problems and labor issues were abundant. There were characters who were willing to work extremely hard, in hopes of one day owning a small plot of their own land. They knew that they had no hope of escaping the woes of the area by working for someone else – the only way to be free was to have their own little piece of land, and hard work was the answer to acquiring their goal.

The ability to work hard does not necessarily make a great leader, however without a strong work ethic the amount of talent that an individual holds is often irrelevant as the likelihood of becoming a great leader is greatly reduced. Talent alone can carry someone a short while, but if they are not willing to put in the time and hard work then they will never achieve what they are capable of.

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About the Program

The Real World Leaders - Real World Students Program is a leadership program created in partnership with the University of Kentucky that enables students to work at different work sites across America and observe a wide variety of leadership skills, traits and characteristics.

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