NHS Essay

James’ aphorism “the wisdom of admitting your weaknesses and correcting them through continuous learning means leadership” speaks volumes to the present pursuit of excellence in school. As a young person seeking to lead academically and in other school related activities, the temptation to prove extraordinary ability and perfection is undeniable. However, as common wisdom would relate, such an approach is likely a setup for failure as it assumes precision and accuracy asynchronous with human nature (Greenleaf, 2002). The above aphorism presents an alternative path to leadership: admitting to fallibility and lifelong learning.

            The central idea in James’ leadership description is admitting to our ability to make mistakes but use lifelong learning as remedy. Normally, many think that becoming a leader is being perfect in the sense of scoring high grades, making no mistake in character and responding to every criticism with defense (Daft, 2014). I personally used to assume those with the highest GPA as de facto leaders in the classroom, and strugglers as their antithesis. I put myself down for every mistake I made and viewed it as a discredit to my leadership credentials. However, James’ aphorism reprises these notions and suggests that as long as I acknowledge my weaknesses and keep learning, I display leadership. This is the path I intend to follow in providing practical leadership at the school level as well as meeting the criteria of the same as set out by the NHS.

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            I also reckon that admitting fallibility and lifelong learning advances scholarship and service. By recognizing mistakes, one becomes humble and ready to serve (Allison & Messick, 2014). In the same way, they keep learning and realizing the need to gain further knowledge. James’ aphorism thus presents a unique perspective on offering practical leadership, serving and advancing scholarship.


Allison, S., & Messick, D. M. (2014). Conceptions of leadership: Enduring ideas and emerging insights. Springer.

Daft, R. L. (2014). The leadership experience. Cengage Learning.

Greenleaf, R. K. (2002). Essentials of servant-leadership. Focus on leadership: Servant-leadership for the twenty-first century, 19-26.

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