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Leadership: Use Your Influence

September 12, 2015

During assembly on Friday, September 11, motivational speaker Molly Grisham spoke to students about leadership — what it is and how to use it. Grisham is the head soccer coach at University of Illinois-Springfield and runs summer leadership clinics for student athletes ... but her advice extends beyond the playing fields.

Grisham said you have to stay true to who you are while learning to lead. She urged students to view tough times as opportunities — to realize that good can come from anything that happens.

She then shared her definition of leadership: A leader is a person of influence who uses their influence for good by empowering, inspiring and serving others and is someone who is always willing to grow.

  • Empowering means equipping others with skills, knowledge and permission to be their best selves.
  • Inspiring means living your own passion.
  • Serving means putting others first — serve for purpose, not praise.
  • And leaders are lifelong learners.

Grisham talked about the power of this influence, particularly in the context of social media. She reminded students that negative postings have real consequences; college admissions officers, college recruiters, et al., watch social media carefully and make decisions based on what they see. She suggested that rather than using social media as a place to vent, students consider the enormous opportunity they have through collective positive messaging.

Grisham said leadership is a choice and that it should be used in service — even in the smallest moments.