March 3, 2015
When you think of leadership, is it something you know or something you do? More than likely, it’s both. Many people hold leadership positions, but do they understand what leadership truly means?
For more than 25 years, I have learned from incredible leaders. Some of those leaders are accomplished professionals and others are students leading their peers.
It is my experience that a few key aspects of one’s ability to be a great leader and to be successful are:
1. It’s not about you. A leader understands that it is not just about them. John Maxwell says, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, shows the way.” Mentoring is an important part of leading. Having a mentor and being one can help you continue to grow while guiding others to become more confident and stronger leaders.
2. Communication is the key to being a successful leader. Today’s leaders have so many tools to use to communicate with others; however, there is nothing that can take the place of face-to-face communication. Don’t allow technology to take the place of meaning conversations that can impact others in a way that no other means can.
3. Understand that change is a part of leadership. Change is inevitable. Managing change and knowing how to bring others to an understanding of change is a skill that must be developed.
4. Leave a legacy worth sharing. My grandmother always told me to leave something in a better place than when you entered it. Enough said.
In college I did not really see myself as a leader until I became the President of Orientation Team. That position was one of the most important positions at my university. My Dean of Admissions took a chance by selecting me to be an orientation leader and for the first time, I was motivated to be the best leader I could be.
Since then, I have been afforded opportunities because someone took an interest in my leadership ability. It is now my responsibility to mentor, challenge, and support others who might need my guidance. John F. Kennedy’s words continue to ring true: “To those whom much is given, much is expected.” If we are given the opportunities, it is our responsibility to reach back, grab others, and bring them along.
Credit // Author: Dr. Mari Ann Callais
Dr. Mari Ann Callais shares her 25 years of higher ed experience with unique programs on leadership and Fraternity and Sorority Life. Learn more about her new keynote, Leadership Out Loud: Life Lessons for Success, at campuspeak.com/callais.
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