Leadership from Don Quixote and Comparison to Real World

Leadership Examples from Don Quixote

  • Passion
  • Discipline
  • Human Value not based on “Class”
  • Goal Setting

Leadership Examples Observed in the RWL Program– Comparison to Don Quixote


The people who work for non-profit organizations work to make a difference in other people’s lives. These workers exhibit so much passion, they seem to do whatever it takes to make a positive change and accomplish their goals. For example, I witnessed an employee at a RWL worksite who worked through the night to get a job done that he was just an assistant on. He could have left and let the work fall on someone else’s shoulders, but he had such a passion for the underlying success of the project that he finished the task. Throughout the month at this location, this same individual consistently displayed high amounts of passion that it inspired those who worked next to him to stay and work with more fervor. In another case there was a project that pulled together a multitude of organizations for one central cause, for which this same employee had a passion for, and he encouraged others to help surpass the goal that was set before the group. If that individual’s zeal and passion were absent, the project would not have achieved its goal, let alone surpassed it.

A classical literature story about one man who displayed tremendous passion was Don Quixote. He lived the life of a knight because he was obsessed with doing chivalrous deeds. He wanted to right the world of its wrongs and make a difference in the lives of others. His passion ran so deep it began to rub off on Sancho, his loyal, but often doubting companion. During de Cervantes’s tale it is evident that Sancho was extremely disgruntled and opposed what Don Quixote was attempting to do. However, the passion that Don Quixote possessed ultimately overtook Sancho’s pessimism, changing how he viewed the world.

James Robbins, who is a leadership and motivation strategist, note that “Passion is wonderful to have and passion says you believe strongly in your message and invites others to.” Just as was observed in the RWL Program, passion begets passion when in the right hands. The opposite side of the coin is to not go overboard – too much passion can overrun a lot of situations. Finding the right balance between passion and realistic goals is what can make good leaders great. The RWL Program provided me the opportunity to actually meet and interact with numerous “Movers and Shakers” who possessed and displayed great passion for their causes.


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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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