Leaders need courage to be effective

Key speaker Rick Blangiardi shares words of knowledge to student leaders at Leadership Conference.

By Silvana Bautista

Key speaker Rick Blangiardi shares words of knowledge to student leaders at Leadership Conference.

Silvana Bautista, Web Co-Editor

Leaders need to be confident in everything they do.

Student leaders of McKinley High School and other high schools on Oahu attended a conference on Nov. 6. This year’s theme was Na Koa: People of Courage.

Key speaker Rick Blangiardi was a football player at UH. He later became a coach and he now has a career in broadcast. Blangiardi said it is important for leaders to have confidence and strength. He said that leaders cannot be afraid to lead people who are better than them because it could lead to progress.

Blangiardi also said that it is important to have conversations face to face.

He said, “You can’t lead through a screen.”

Leaders must also have a positive attitude. Followers will pick up on a leader’s personality. He said that perpetual optimism is a forced multiplier. Likewise, cynicism and optimism does the same.

Blangiardi said that leadership is a learned skill. Leaders are continually learning. They need to be service oriented. They radiate positive energy, believe in other people, lead balanced lives, see life as an adventure and make things happen. He also said that they must also physically exercise. He said that leaders need to be able to make people look up and commit to them.

He also said that titles do not necessarily make a person a leader. A person can be in charge of people who do not respect or follow him. A leader needs to be responsible for the people they are in charge of. If those people stop looking at the leader for help, then they believe that the leader is either not good enough for the role or that the leader does not care.

After all the breakout sessions, Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders speaker Katie Chang and Student Activities Director and speaker April Nakamura spoke at the very end, after all the breakout sessions. All student leaders sat at the front to have a better understanding of their speeches. It was absolutely quiet; the speakers were only ones heard.

Nakamura said that leaders need to be the voice and hands for those who do not have the courage. Leadership is not supposed to only benefit the leader. It is supposed to help everyone else.

The conference emphasized the importance of courage and that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to face that fear and overcome it.

Chang said that courage is a verb because a person needs to do it to get past a fear. She also said that courage is “fueled by love” and that it is contagious. A person is more likely to do something if they see someone do it first.

The final message of the conference was by Nakamura. She said, “We need you to be the people of courage. Be the leaders we need you to be.”