Leadership 101

Have you ever wonder how it feels like to be a leader? Does being a leader means you gain a certain power?

It’s true that leaders have the authority to make the final call but a true leadership is more than that. Leaders should learn how to listen to the majority and at the same time considering voices of the minorities. It is easy to step up and become a leader of an organisation, family, country or maybe a project group. What most people failed to become is a good leader. A leader with integrity, a leader that is loved by many and envied by others. It has come to my mind on how to become a good leader when I was nominated as the president of UNMC psychology society. I did much reading (links are included at the end of article) and reflect on my past experience as leader and team player. Why? By learning from your old experiences, you can acknowledge what you did was good and bad for a team in the perspective of a leader and a team player. The following are checklists on good leaderships that I have narrowed down based on my experiences:

Have objectives and make others clear of the objectives

The first thing that you should have in mind as a leader is the objectives of your club/society. What were the objectives of the club when it was initially formed? If your club doesn’t have clear objectives then it would be difficult for you and your team to keep track of the club/society purposes. It is like driving on the highway without a destination. The objectives are your destination. When contractor wanted to build a house, they will put up the walls and only then the windows, roofs and doors can be installed. Objectives are like the walls, without it, other work would delay.

I can give you dozens of metaphor and analogy to show how important objectives are for organisation but I am sure that when I first point out that you should have objectives, you had already been thinking about your club/society objectives. If you did, that’s a good sign. You are a step ahead on becoming a good leader. Make sure that your team members are clear about the objectives so you can move to the same destination together.

Take the lead

This action differentiates between a leader and a boss. Bosses tell their objective and vision then distribute works; expecting others to achieve the objective. Leaders take the lead and manage projects alongside with their comrades.

“The key to successful leadership today is influence; not authority” – Kenneth Blanchard-

Never be afraid to take the lead and spread influence.

Manage the project well and make it SMART

Manage the project well and make it realistic. It is as simple as that. Make it SMART:

S- Specific: Be as specific as you can regarding the details and objectives of your project

M- Measurable: Try to quantify your goals. “Find Volunteers” is not quantifiable, try “Recruit 16 volunteers for xxx event”. After you have achieved it, you can cross it out from           your to-do list and it will give you great feels of accomplishment.

A- Achievable: Be realistic and set your goal to be achievable. ‘Get Rm 2.6 billion sponsorship’ is not only too general but also unrealistic.

R- Relevant: Make the task relevant to what your society is planning to do. Distribute the task relevantly; paperwork should be done by the secretary and budget by the treasurer. Having a lot of executives may avoid excessive workload for each executive ( noted that you are a student and have other things to submit) but do bear in mind that more executives mean more personalities to deal with. Fewer executives may mean extra work but the probability to avoid social loafing and responsibilities diffusion is higher.

T- Time Related: Organise how much time you are going to allocate for every task. Eg: one week for volunteer recruitment. The advisable way to keep track of your to-do list is to make a Gantt chart. There are templates available on the internet. You should choose whether to make a monthly Gantt chart or weekly Gantt chart according to how urgent your event is.

Take initiative to be unique

Be unique. While it is always good to have a benchmark, being unique does give you the advantage of being remembered as a good leader.

Know when to give others spotlight

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” -Lao Tzu-

It is not necessary for you to take all the credits. Learn to give your executive a chance of spotlight. They will appreciate it – trust meJ. A good leader have the influence to make executives do what he wants to be done, and have a self-refrain enough to keep himself from meddling with what the executive are doing. Just make sure you are up to date with their progress. Leadership is the art of having someone to do what you want to be done because he wants to do it. So make some way for your executives to shine and enjoy their contribution. Acknowledging their contribution is also a good way to motivate them.

Know how to deal with people personalities.

This is something that you can learn and adapt. Everyone has different preferences so take your time to observe your team members personality. One of the personalities that may harm your project goal is the work pace of your members. Some people are energetic and are more likely to finish a task quickly. Some are more lay back/relax and may get the job done last minute. As the team leader, you should know how to coordinate work according to their personality and preferences. It may sound hard because it is hard to make everyone happy, but the least thing you could do is try.



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