On Leadership

Friday, December 26, 2014

About a year ago, in December as well, I wrote a blog post about some of my thoughts on leadership and it mainly centered around how I thought our society had the misconception that a person's ability to lead well is correlated to how well one does academically and I definitely still think that holds true today. Last year though, I had a different perspective and focused more on leadership positions itself partly because my entire year was spent on things related to House Captaincy/ being a prefect and all the responsibilities that came with it and thus I was influenced by a lot of my experiences holding a position in school that gave me a platform to do things, and I personally was/ am not very strong with academics (especially at that point in time, with all my science subjects) which was really what inspired and led me to pen down what I posted ultimately.

This year, my perspective has undoubtedly shifted and I wanted to write something on the sort of leadership that exists outside of positional leadership, about the sort of leadership that I have realized might even matter more, the sort of leadership that might actually be more difficult to attain, depending on which point a person is at in his/ her life. My train of thought is in all honesty really triggered by a series of bad experiences I've had witnessing people in positions of authority not exactly displaying what I personally deem "good leadership behavior" and for me, it was disheartening to see something like that happen and I thought it wasn't very enriching for team members to constantly receive criticism that is by no means constructive and having ideas slammed down repeatedly without the least or any consideration put into them at all. 

It may be the result of high standard levels but it was incredibly discouraging and I don't think a real leader should ever leave anyone feeling bad, no matter how tight deadlines may be or how doing practical things like that could increase productivity. I didn't like it at all and it made me highly uncomfortable. I can't say that I could do things better if put in the same position and perhaps it's so much easier for me to say these things as I was just a mere observer, but I'm definitely making a mental note not to emulate such actions. 

Before entering junior college proper this year, I made the conscious decision not to get myself involved in clear leadership roles - more specifically, joining the obvious leadership board in school. Alright, I make it sound like I would have been guaranteed a spot (which is not the case at all) but I suppose I decided not to try out for it and truly, I thought that would be putting my leadership journey to an end - or at least, that I wouldn't have a platform to lead, that I wouldn't have a platform to influence or impact others. 

Through the course of 2014 though, I've come to realize that not everyone with a leadership position is a leader but someone without a leadership position can actually be a leader. I never believed that clich√© statement about how "everyone can be a leader" but it's actually quite true especially at where I am right now. Somehow, I feel like I'm making more of an impact on people and leading them in terms of sharing my beliefs, in terms of sharing what I know and it's kind of strange how when I'm not focused on getting work done, I tend to influence others more, even through rather shallow means like this social media and even this blog. Not having a set platform to lead makes my audience more limited but it makes them the people who are truly interested in hearing the things I have to say, who sincerely trust me and that's so lovely. 

This year, I made the conscious effort to spread positive vibes to the people around me, caring about people more and I try to share things that mean something to me in hope that someone else can take away from it and I have been getting pretty positive feedback especially on channels such as ask.fm and I feel like my voice is a lot more valued this way. To me, it's a form of leadership in an unconventional way. It gives me a lot more freedom and I don't feel tied to my positions and I speak only when it matters to me - last year I always thought what people in my school would think about me and even centered posts I made public on various platforms around House and Waddle. I have a lot of passion for what I do, but it shouldn't consume me because my position is not all to who I am as a person. And I think people ought to realize that, especially those who are currently in positions of influence - I wish I'd known this sooner but today is not too late :-) 

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