“Being open to new ideas from others is one part of leadership that will help you to grow and become a stronger leader.” -T.K.Franks
Rutgers University fourth-year student Taylor Franks never considered herself a leader before coming to Rutgers. However, after experiencing four years at this diverse and opportunistic university, Taylor has obtained over four different positions of direct leadership.
Taylor Franks is someone I have known throughout my career here at Rutgers. She’s someone who I look up to in many different aspects in life; academics, love, advice, to name a few. Taylor is my mentor and Taylor is a leader.
Since she and I have experienced four long, eventful years together at Rutgers, I have constantly witnessed the growth Taylor has undergone. I’ve seen her go from simply the most responsible person in our group of girls freshman year to Delta Gamma’s Vice President Panhellenic, Director of Chapter Archives, Director of Activities, the Women’s Ski Captain of the Rutgers Ski/Snowboard race team, and the building manager at the College Avenue gym. Taylor is also a general member of the Naturalist Club.
After speaking with Taylor specifically about her development as a leader through these four years, I’ve realized that Taylor is an extremely inclusive and empowering leader, two essential pieces to the Relational Leadership Model presented by Susan Komives. This model says being ethical, inclusive, empowering, process-oriented, and purposeful are important aspects in relational leadership.
“As a leader it is very easy to do things the way you want them to be done,
but it is important to also learn from those who are your subordinates,” Taylor said. “Being open to new ideas from others is one part of leadership that will help you to grow and become a stronger leader.”
Including followers and their opinions while also mentoring and coaching them is one of the most important aspects of leadership to Taylor because it is both more efficient for her and empowering for the followers.
She also places huge emphasis on leading by example.
“Being a leader does not necessarily mean holding positions,” she said. “To me, a leader is someone who shows by example.”
Not all leaders are dictators. Real leaders, like Taylor understand the “Knowing, Being, Doing” practice of leadership. That is, they know their purpose, they value and take part in their purpose, and they do what they would ask of others to do for the organization.
Despite the numerous leadership hats she wears, Taylor has been successful in utilizing her view on leadership. No matter what type of leadership one gains, whether it is a specific position or socially assumed, Taylor’s focus on taking care of followers has proved efficient.
The Relational Leadership Model can directly be applied to Taylor’s experience as a leader. Because she is a student and interacts with numerous students, faculty, and staff as a part of her positions, it is essential for Taylor to understand this model and its importance.
Being a student leader, especially at Rutgers where getting involved is SO highly encouraged, means developing meaningful, long-lasting, trusting relationships with followers.
Taylor is certainly on the right track!