Elmore then described a couple of ways to do just that. He said students should live by values and not to just react to what everyone else is doing. He also encouraged adding value, even if it is just with an encouraging word.
How do people become leaders? Elmore described four ways: Being born with the gift to lead, being put in the right situations (one that matches one’s passions, strengths and gifts), being positioned (when someone is asked to step forward and take on a challenge) and being summoned (when a problem comes about and something has to be done).
Harry Truman, the 33rd U.S. president, could have been elected the least likely to become a leader when growing up in school, according to Elmore. He said the late president was kind of a nerd, had big thick glasses, looked kind of frail and was made fun of a lot.
“He was the only president in the 20th century to never finish college,” Elmore said.
However, something happened when he was a young adult, Elmore said; Truman signed up to fight in World War I.
“When he was over in Europe with the rest of his troops, the Germans started dropping something from the sky. Nobody knew quite what it was, but they knew it wasn’t good. Everybody started to retreat,” he said.
“They are running in terror and Harry Truman had a horse fall on top of him. It was a miracle he did not die right then and there. But he squirmed up from under the horse and saw the rest of the men running in fear. He yelled out at the top of his lungs, ‘Stop, get back here. We have not finished our mission.’”
Elmore said the men stopped dead in their tracks and came back to finish the mission. And that night, according to Elmore, Truman wrote that he learned two things from that experience — that he had a little courage and that he loved to lead.