Let me start by posing these questions: What does it mean to be a leader? And why are there so many voices saying how important it is to embrace leadership skills?
Analogous to clay, Leadership can be described in various manners. Leadership has distinctive faces and can only be worn once you have fully come to terms with it. As you may have read on many platforms of the history behind every great leader (e.g., Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela), they are fostered and driven by many factors and causes. Ergo, we should not put ourselves on the same pedestal or pigeonhole ourselves within their Leadership's spectrum.
Read more: Mentoring, The Mandela Way
Everywhere you see, be it in job postings, advertisements, school plays, and projects, there is always one criterion highlighted and magnified: LEADERSHIP.
Unbeknownst to the masses, being a leader is one thing but knowing how to lead your troop is another. You could possess all the leadership skills and still be unable to apply and implement the leadership action. Fret not, as this gazette is not berating you on how the sense of Leadership lies beyond mastering 'the skills'. However, to enlighten you, folks, on the significance of Leadership, why we believe Leadership can prepare students (our future leaders) towards grasping our ever-changing world and how such a trait can be magnificently beneficial for them.
Yes, being a leader is all glamorous. However, does that mean we are effective? Well, that's for another discussion. I will let you mull over it.
Let's start by analysing how we never get to exercise our critical thinking skills during our schooling days, nor were we pushed towards it. Typically, our teachers spoon-feed us on what to say, what to do, how to do it, and more along those lines. Furthermore, the formulation of tests, quizzes, and exams only ever test your memorisation prowess but never gloss on our creative, practical aspects of the subject matter. This case does not yield the liberty to employ our problem-solving skills, which can be detrimental during decision-making and our sense of individuality.
The aforementioned case does not prepare you for real or situational based occasions (for instance, interviews for scholarships, interviews, and write-up statements for college admissions, or even job interviews). Interviews, in general, will yield situational questions to discern how you would conduct in such events simultaneously to ascertain how well you employ your problem-solving and critical thinking abilities. Well, stammering over your oscillating words will not get you the brownie points you desire.
Possessing the deftness of critical thinking can carry your footsteps to a more extended expedition. Critical thinking is one of the dominant traits in being a leader. With such a trait, you will be more flexible in your perspectives, thoughts, and opinions. You will be more enlightened with the many opportunities laid in front of you and the plainness bared under your nose. You will learn how to comprehensively ruminate your choices (i.e., analytical) and rationally defuse the situation. You will also be able to converse widely with everyone and carry those intellectual conversations in any shape possible. This circumstance will also be an added point to accumulating an extensive network. People generally enjoy when the discourses are able to tickle their intellectual fancy and meet that threshold of allurement.
Additionally, speaking of problem-solving, it too can gauge how creative you are as a person. Problem-solving coupled with the ability of solid decision-making will sharpen your leadership sword. People who are able to whet these traits always have innovative ways each time they handle a happening. This ensures that you continue to churn your mind and birth new inventive ideas instead of resorting to mundanity—stepping into shaping powerful leadership traits.
Carrying along with the previous notable mention of traits, Leadership will easily expose you to many networks. Networking and collaboration not only will gain you a more established profile, but you will also open many doors of opportunities for yourself and your team. Not long after, you will surely be able to make a name for yourself and your team. This will adorn your character and reputation as a leader so brilliantly.
Read more: The 7-step Guide to Networking
Under the big umbrella of Leadership lies perfectly still and mighty: the sense of autonomy should always be available and granted to every person, which in this case, students. Having a sense of control over your own choices and influences can lead you to many opportunities and permitting you the moment of self-discovery. You will be able to relish the journey of exploring your likes and dislikes. It has the ability to get to know yourself once more. Your finding will marvel you. Having that sense of control and capabilities will only push you into forming a better judgement.
Now, let's delve into the concept of experiences. Obtaining experience from whatever it may be is constantly underlined by many. And, axiomatically, I believe so too.
However, the question here is, what did you learn from those experiences? Are you able to move forward with it? Will you be able to apply those garnered experiences into your life and future events? Being a leader will teach you this.
- Being a leader does not necessarily mean that you need to have a mountain of experiences to be dubbed as an established leader, but rather comprehending and embracing the moral lessons you have acquired. Being a leader educates you on how implicit knowledge is the spine behind your leadership conduct; it shapes you and guides you. Your experiences are your signposts in life.
- Nonetheless, those who are narrow-minded would reckon the opposite. Unreceptive folks only focused on gaining experience but not learning anything from it. Ergo, Leadership can aid in the practice of appreciating and espousing those lessons from your experiences and ability to apply them in actual life events. Then, you will be able to gauge just how meaningful those accumulated experiences are.
With Leadership, too, you will be able to gain solid self-confidence. Before sharpening your autonomy trait, you first need to be assured and confident with the choices made. Possessing self-confidence can determine you to be a professional and distinguished person; people will take you more seriously as opposed to those who seemed apprehensive and agitated. Confidence can also be a trick to your negotiating skills, and it would seem like you know your stuff and your way around the subject matter. Confidence can make you appear taller and brighter as you walk with a powerful stride and an upright demeanour.
Taking another bite of the sweet cake slice under the Leadership tray is: the aptitude for communication. Being a leader, you connect with heaps of people globally. You will have the luck in mastering the art of communicating well and receiving the proper etiquette accordingly. Not only will this grant you the opportunity to hone your communication skills but simultaneously acquiring cultural knowledge (as with a vast network connection, you will be meeting with people from different backgrounds). Killing two birds, with one stone, so to speak. As we all came to know that a great leader has remarkable communication skills.
Read more: How to Turn Conversations into Successful Business Networking
Leadership skills can encourage you to be more adaptable and flexible accordingly. It can help them build a better mindset and mentality. As known widely, change is inevitable. The world is continuously evolving. After possessing and exercising the many traits that fall under the Leadership roof, you will not be afraid, nor will you be intimidated towards changes and constantly welcome new ideas that your surroundings will postulate. You will be more confident with yourself and your judgments. You will be comfortable being challenged, be it your views, opinions, even thoughts. You are willing to dispute amongst others in a way to stimulate your social cognition. This shows a great sense of Leadership.
- With your acquired Leadership sword (courtesy of jumping many uncomfortable barriers towards honing the many factors into being a great leader), you will be able to defend your case. This is speaking in this 21st-century world we are presently living in. As students and youth, we are continually questioned and chastised for our radical thinking.
We need more leaders to lead, to fight, to marshal for justice and great causes. There is a plethora of factors that drive Leadership, and perhaps this is merely a glimpse of it. However, I hoped this could be a starting point and an eye-opening piece exemplifying why Leadership is an immensely lucrative and instrumental trait that should be aspired by students. It also acts as a driving force for them to prepare for what the future has in store.
Be sure to check out this remarkable and insightful sharing by our very own CEO (Roshan Thiran) on the Importance of Leadership, a lengthy but a good one: