Leadership Lessons from Frederick Olmsted, the designer of Central Park

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Frederick Olmsted, father of landscape architecture and designer of Central Park, said, “I have all my life been considering distant effects and always sacrificing immediate success and applause to that of the future.” Olmsted knew that he would not live to see the finish product of central park because it would take decades to for the plant life to reach maturity and for the city in which it was built to develop.

For those like me that consider themselves more of a leader than a follower; strive to be a transformational leader. This meaning that you are a leader with a passion to achieve great things, encourage individuals to grow and succeed and prove yourself as a person with integrity. In short, a transformational leader is just as it appears, one that is dedicated to watching individuals transform. However, like Olmstead, we may not be able to see immediate success in our relationships with others nor can we change the world in one day. But, we can be satisfied in knowing that we have planted a seed and laid a foundation for others.

My two summers as a camp counselor comes to mind when I think about this. I spent 7 weeks living with middle school girls and I soon realized that in that time it would be impossible to teach them to love the outdoors as much as I did. So, I came to the realization that the best I can do is to share with them my passions, set a good example and hope that one day they find themselves on a vacation and book the zip line excursion and remember my face as I sent them off their first zip line.

Whether you realize it or not you are a leader in some way. You may be the president of the United States, the president of your club, a leader in your community or a spiritual leader but, whatever it may be I encourage you all (and ask that you encourage me) to pursue your leadership and transform the ones around you.

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