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Leadership Series: Part 1

By Kelly Jex
Managing Editor, Auburn Hills

As adults, future lawyers, and business professionals, we all have a lot to learn about leadership. It is with this thought in mind I have explored leadership in its many capacities in the local Metro Detroit community.

What I have learned from many people, in many areas of expertise, is that leadership takes many forms. It can be expressed in many ways, and it requires everyone to rise to the occasion. If we want to be a success in our local communities, we must all possess the greatest qualities of leadership. Join with me over a series of articles as we explore what this means and how to apply leadership to our own lives...

State Senator Marty Knollenberg is a leader. Representing the 13th District for the Michigan State Senate, Kollenberg has come to understand that to be a leader, you must first have a community. Plant your roots, grow relationships, and one can earn the respect and leadership of your community. He has learned to lead by example, to work with those whom he shares a different view, and as a result, has provided certainty, security and prosperity for the community he represents.

This is our community, our home, and Senator Knollenberg challenges each of us to embrace ownership of it. We lead our communities when we are involved, paying attention, and getting excited. And there is so much to be excited about. There is life in the state of Michigan!

One of the most important things Senator Knollenberg does is create relationships. He is in the business of people - the legislators he works alongside and the taxpayers he represents. This is a lesson we should all share in. We should all be in the business of building relationships, the business of caring about people in our communities. There will be those we work alongside and the clients we represent. Each deserves our utmost respect and attention; each our neighbors and friends.

Knollenberg stresses community relations does not need to be complicated. It simply comes down to this: progress gets accomplished when people are excited. Find what excites individuals, find middle ground, and relationships will prosper. As Knollenberg asks himself, “Why do we do things? Because we are excited.” Knollenberg uses excitement to create jobs, promote tourism, fix Michigan’s roads, and pass positive legislation on both sides of the partisan aisle. He uses leadership to create a stable community for Michigan’s families. We will need to use our own leadership capabilities, in our communities, to make a difference in our own way.  

In sum, we need community. As the proverb goes, no man is an island. No man can lead without a community which trusts him and is excited about him. We can make the biggest difference leading in our local communities.