Volunteers are better leaders; Volunteer and groom yourself to be a better leader

Just like a diamond is cut and sharpened around the edges so that it reflects light and shines brightly, the same way potential leaders can be shaped up to become better leaders. There are many ways an individual can practice leadership and inculcate leadership qualities. Among them, volunteering is a very effective and practical method.

Volunteering and leadership

Modern times do not require typical leaders who just lead a set of followers and get them to a task or achieve goals. The world today needs leaders who are not only capable of leading others but also who can think out of the box and bring about a positive change in the world. Volunteering lets an individual go beyond the frame of typical leadership and become a unique leader. Apart from the basic leadership qualities such as teamwork, management skills, good communication skills, etc., future leaders need a unique set of skills that can easily be acquired by volunteering.

Why volunteers are better leaders

Self-motivation is an important leadership quality. Because it is the leader that motivates others. And there is no one to push and motivate the leader in particular. As the name suggests volunteers are self-motivated. Because individuals engage in volunteering out of their own free will. They volunteer not because it’s a duty or a responsibility. But because they are self-motivated to participate in a course that they believe in. Leadership is mostly about working towards achieving a common goal. But the journey towards achieving a goal is never a smooth sail. There are unexpected situations and problems that arise in the way. Engaging in volunteering projects gives one the ability to think on their legs and to be solution-oriented. Volunteers always face with unexpected situations which make them better at crisis management and handling pressure. Most often volunteering projects are about providing solutions to social problems. So these projects touch different fields and areas of concern. This makes volunteers be versatile and work in close proximity to different fields. Owing to this volunteers gain the skill to be adaptable to new situations. Therefore, adaptability is one of the leadership qualities that a volunteer gets to master. A leader without the skills of collaboration and coordination would never be able to serve the purpose of being a leader. Coordination and collaboration are two skills that any volunteer acquires. Because volunteering projects require a lot of coronation and collaboration, be it with sponsors, partners or fellow volunteers. One of the must-have leadership qualities in a leader is empathy. If a leader is unable to empathize with the followers or other stakeholders concerned, that kind of a leader would not be able to achieve the ultimate goal. But being a volunteer helps you to empathize with others and thereby understand others’ sentiments and personalities. This helps a leader to better understand the best way to lead.

Groom yourself to be a better leader with AIESEC

Having mentioned all the reasons why volunteering makes an individual a better leader it is mandatory to mention how to have the best volunteering experience. AIESEC’s leadership product, Global Volunteer (GV) provides you with the opportunity to be a volunteer through two of its functions which are incoming Global Volunteer (iGV) and outgoing Global Volunteer (oGV). So turn your aspiration to volunteer into reality and volunteer with AIESEC. Be a better leader than the one you aspire to be.
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The battle between cyber threats and cyber security

It is a connected world that we live in today. A person from one end of the world could connect with a person from the other end of the world within a matter of seconds. People are able to explore information, share knowledge and carry out various transactions with a mere click. This is all thanks to the discovery of internet. Internet is a network of networks. Meaning, internet is a global network that links smaller networks of computers and servers. Cyberspace by its definition is a symbolic and a figurative space which exists within the scope of internet. According to IT specialists, cyberspace is popular as a medium for social interaction rather than for its technical execution and implementation. Cyberspace allows users to interact, share information, play games, conduct businesses and engage in discussions or social forums. The users in cyberspace are known as cybernauts. The most important and key thing exchanged in cyberspace is information. And this being the information Age, information has more value than money. So there is more potential that this information can be stolen and manipulated by unauthorized parties. This potential dander gives rise to cyber threats or cyber attacks.

Be informed and beware of cyber threats

A cyber threat is a malicious act that attempts to steal, damage or disrupt any form of data. Most of the times cyber threats can come from unknown parties who access the information through unauthorized means. These parties may include hostile governments, terrorist groups, industrial spies, hackers and hacktivists. Cyber threats can come in the form of computer viruses, data breaches, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks etc.

How to ensure cyber security

Cyber security is the protection of computer systems and networks from theft or damage to their hardware, software or electronic data. Cyber security measures include technical mechanisms such as firewalls, anti-virus software, intrusion detection and prevention systems, encryption and login passwords. Also there are rules and regulations imposed by governments to take action against cyber criminals. Apart from that there are cyber security agencies established to minimize and control cyber attacks. But with the advancement of technology, just as the security measures improve so does the technology used for cyber attacks. So cyber security has become a challenge. Despite all the technical implementations, rules and regulations for cyber security, cyber criminals always find a way around these to pose attacks. As the saying goes prevention is better than cure, in case of cyber threats also prevention is better than cure. And end user education and awareness play a big role in prevention of cyber threats.

End user education to prevent cyber threats

Human errors and unawareness has become a major weak point exposing them to cyber attacks. So it is important that users understand and comply with basic cyber security principles. And that is the best way to avoid phishing and social engineering attacks as well as other cyber threats. Users should be mindful of the websites they visit and the apps they install. Must not forget to check if they are from a reliable source. Users must be careful never to click on a link, attachment, or reply with the requested information if they feel something is not quite right. It is also necessary to use trusted network connections or secure the connection using appropriate VPN settings. In addition to those users can change or update their passwords every six months or so. Apart from all these the right to privacy is recognized as the most important among the set of cyber ethics. So if all the users of cyberspace abide by these cyber ethics, respect everyone’s right to privacy and be mindful of basic cyber security principles, the day we win the battle again cyber threats is not faraway.
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Do not just cheer for change; Be a volunteer and be a part of the change.

“Changing the world for the better…”, “Making the world a better place…”, “creating a better future for the future generations…”. These are some phrases that we often get to hear. Without a doubt every human on earth wishes that the world would become better and better as time goes by. But it does not work that way. The world would not become a better place by itself. It is us humans who have to make the world a better place. Solely relying on national leaders and governments is not going to make this process any faster and it would not be practical as well. Because each and every human on earth has a part to play in changing the world. So one of the best ways to play your part in making the world a better place is by volunteering and contributing in whatever the way we can to create the much-needed change. “If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” — Kofi Annan

Volunteering to change the world

By general definition, volunteering is considered as an activity where an individual or a group provides services for the benefit of another person, group or community without obtaining any financial gain from it. Volunteering is one of the ways by which one can give back to the society and serve the society using one’s skills, knowledge and capabilities. For some people volunteering is a passion, for some it’s their way of giving back to society and for others it can be a means of relaxation or a hobby. However, the way you see it, spending a few hours or days of life for the betterment of the society and giving a helping hand to the fellow residents of the world could give one a feeling of satisfaction and contentment. It can also boost one’s self-confidence and self-esteem by seeing what he/she has accomplished and how he/ she has given hope to another.

AIESEC’s Contribution

Volunteering paves the way to change the world for the better and to change people’s lives. This is the very reason why AIESEC has introduced Global Volunteering (GV) as a leading product. AIESEC’S Global Volunteering function allows young individuals to volunteer for better and bigger causes happening all around the world. AIESEC has many interesting volunteering projects covering Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure that sustainable development is not some far fetched goal but a reality that could be attained with the aid of volunteering. For example, AIESEC in Sri Lanka has volunteering projects to facilitate environmental conservation, to promote gender equality, to provide quality education to young children etc. This gives the chance to young individuals to volunteer for causes they are passionate about or to volunteer in a field that they are most cable in. Volunteering with AIESEC allows youth not only to contribute to society but also to develop their social skills, meet new people from different countries, explore new potentials, gain fresh experiences and grow as a person. So instead of anticipating change be a part of the change and volunteer with AIESEC. Join with AIESEC’s Global Volunteer program to bring about the change you want to see in the world and to make the world a better place. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi
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Generation Z is ready to take over the world. Is corporate world ready to welcome Generation Z?

“Employees are not your company’s most important resource. They are your company”   -Adam Grant
In today’s competitive world, the sustainability of a company depends on its employees. In fact, employees are the most important assets of a company. Because employees are the key factor in deciding an organization’s success. Hence, it is important for companies to understand employees and meet their expectations. To understand employees, employer must look into the traits and characteristics of employees. Upon understanding the nature of employees, only an employer would be able to create the kind of a corporate culture and a working environment that would suit employees. Through this, a company could enhance the performance of employees and at the same time maximize competitive advantage. Therefore, any company trying to compete with competitors should work on understanding its employees.

Different generations of employees

Today many workplaces are composed of employees belonging to four generations. Namely, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (Millennials) and Generation Z. This generational gap is caused mainly due to technological advancements. With each generation comes new viewpoints, expectations and traits that are unique to that particular Generation. Companies are very much familiar with the traits and characteristics of employees belonging three of the above generations, which are Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. Because employees of those three generations have been in the industry for quite a while now.

Who are Gen Zs

It is employees belonging to generation Z also known as i Gen (those born after 1997) that the companies should focus on understanding. Because Generation Z employees are the fresh blood who have just started to penetrate the job market and it will be them taking over the corporate world in a few years. The most significant thing about Generation Zs is that they are less money driven than Millennial’s. They are more interested in opportunities to learn and improve themselves. Therefore, companies hiring Gen Zs as employees should provide them with adequate opportunities to learn on the job as well as off the job rather than just offering a higher salary. Another interesting fact about Gen Zs is that they are more entrepreneurial than any of the previous generations. Therefore, the companies could expect more innovative and risk taking quality in future employees. Even though Gen Zs have exposure to advanced technologies than any other previous generations, they prefer more inter personal means of communication when it comes to business or professional communication. So it would be better if the companies adopt ways of business communication which involve personal interactions such as Team meetings, conferences etc. Gen Zs are independent and very much self-confident. However, they also happen to value and expect constant feedback of their work. Therefore, companies should focus on implementing an effective employee performance evaluation and feedback system. Moreover, Gen Zs have sorted thoughts and have clear career goals. Therefore, once they join an organization they expect the employers to take them seriously and provide support for career development in order to reach their ultimate goal. So Gen Zs will tend to leave organizations if they do not receive opportunities to accomplish particular career goals.

How companies can prepare

Nevertheless if the companies could do necessary changes in the organizational culture and working environment, that could help to bring out the best in Generation Z employees. However, for that it is important for the companies to pay attention to employee behaviors. However, most of Gen Zs are currently in either higher education or school education. Only a few Gen Zs are currently in employment, which makes it difficult for the companies to closely observe them. Solution to this issue is easily provided by two of AIESEC’s leadership products, namely, Global Talent(GT) and Global Entrepreneur (GE). Through these two leadership products, well-established companies and start-ups could hire Gen Zs as interns. This would help the organizations to get an early on experience on how to deal with Generation Z employees. That way the companies will be well prepared to welcome Generation Z employees.
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Face disruption with innovation and pave the way for sustainable development

“Change is inevitable, the disruption it causes often brings inconvenience and opportunity” -Robert Scoble
The world is changing and no matter how much we like inertia and how hard we try to remain without changing at one point either we have to adapt to the change or bring about the change ourselves. From the point of industrialization, the change that we see in the world is rapid, be it socially, economically or technologically the world has set about on a race to development which constantly brings about rapid change in these aspects. Owing to the process of development that the world undergoes causing rapid advancements in technology and globalization now we experience “Disruption”. Disruption is defined as a disturbance or a problem that interrupts an event, activity or process. Disruption which was merely a concept to the commercial and industrial world before has now become a reality that the companies are facing on a daily basis. The business processes and operations of companies are often disrupted due to the advancements in technology and new findings. Because for each minute that passes new products, new technologies are being introduced at a lower cost but with increased effectiveness So companies might see disruption as something having negative impacts on the businesses. But what is important is to see the positive impacts of disruption and identify the opportunities it presents. Change causes disruption and disruption presents the opportunity to bring about change. Rather than being subjected to disruption if we ourselves cause disruption then it would no longer have a negative impact. So the answer to disruption is “Innovation”. The key to survive disruption is by innovation. Innovation can be defined as coming up with new and creative ideas and implementing those ideas in the form of a process or a device which would cater to today’s needs as well as future needs. Innovation is not only about giving new and more effective solutions to problems at hand but also delivering solutions to future problems as well. This is why innovation is important in achieving sustainable development and accomplishing Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” -Steve Jobs
AIESEC paves the way for youth to innovate through AIESEC’s leadership products such as incoming Global Entrepreneur(iGE) and outgoing Global Entrepreneur(oGE). Innovation and entrepreneurship are two closely related concepts. So AIESEC helps young crowd to inculcate innovativeness and to awaken the entrepreneurs within themselves. outgoing Global Entrepreneur(oGE) allows young individuals to work in a startup abroad and get the exposure as to what entrepreneurship is. It also lets youth to obtain hands on experience regarding how to run a startup by working side by side with successful entrepreneurs in various countries and various industries and also to discover new potentials by developing and shaping up their innovative skills. So to face disruption with innovation, instead of adapting to the changes created by others, to create the change that you want to see in the world by yourself and to constantly make exciting and innovative discoveries, try out AIESEC’s leadership products.
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