I enjoyed people-watching at last week’s Leadership Link Conference.

One common thread united all the people attending the conference: their interest in leadership.

People at the conference fit a few categories. Some were long-time leaders. They’ve been leading for years, in their business, industry, military, law enforcement, or academic setting. Some were developing leaders, people who are making a difference where they are, right now. Others were aspiring leaders, people with an interest and drive to lead others. They’re on their way.

I enjoyed watching the dynamic exchanges between the various groups, both the apt attention that developing and emerging leaders gave to the seasoned ones and the helpful encouragement all three groups freely shared.

From those observations, one lesson emerged. Every leader needs a champion.

At our leadership conference, I saw Dr. Charles Polk, MSU’s president, encourage and support Dr. William White, the dean of our School of Leadership and Professional Development.

I saw lead faculty members fortifying other faculty members, giving them the opportunity to present on panels and publicly acknowledging their contributions with words of praise.

In a truly touching moment, I saw one lead faculty member commit to mentoring a doctoral student who, in turn, pledged to mentor another younger student.

I saw faculty members promoting their students, highlighting their hidden talents and applauding their research projects.

I saw students supporting other students, bolstering their confidence in their ability to persevere in their doctoral studies.

Every leader needs a champion.

We all need someone to believe in us, to tell us what we do well, to challenge our assumptions, to appreciate our contributions, and to fight for our cause.

When we have those strong supports in place, we gain the courage and energy we need to spend ourselves in being a champion for others.

Join the conversation!

Who is your champion?

How are you involved in being a champion for others?

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.