“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t want to go but ought to be”
– Rosalynn Carter
At some point in our life, each of us has played the role of a leader. Maybe the monitor or the team leader of a primary class; Maybe a society president; Maybe the leader of the project group at the university, or perhaps a company manager or CEO. No matter how big or small the role is, leadership always shapes an individuals’ life in many ways. One might not succeed as a leader at their maiden attempt, but the risks they took and the failures they encountered help to make a better future leader out of them.
When it comes to creating leadership, AIESEC always has a unique story to tell. Here is where Rosalynn Carters’ golden words apply to AIESEC. An AIESECer, as a leader, does not just lead his fellow men where they want to go but directs them towards much greater heights where they did not ever expect to reach. That’s why an AIESECer isn’t just a leader but a great leader. Why is an AIESECer considered exceptional as a leader? Here are five reasons.
1. Ready to take risks
No one could ever do something remarkable by playing within the safe zone. If one can be brave enough to step out of their comfort zone, one can make miracles happen. That is why an AIESECer does not fear to take risks from the very beginning of their journey. AIESEC provides youth with opportunities to experience it practically, so they quickly adapt to challenging situations and actively find solutions.
As we all are aware, all the physical workspaces had to be shifted to virtual platforms with the Covid -19 pandemic situation. Since this is a major barrier for carrying out the AIESEC exchange programs, AIESEC came up with the novel initiative “Heading for The Future” (H4TF) as an alternative through which the skillful young people can get corporate exposure virtually and add value to their skills such as video editing, content writing, and content presenting. H4TF is the best recent example of how AIESECers co-op up with turbulent situations. They do not wait for the storm to pass. They figure a way out to sail even the stormiest seas instead. It is an important leadership quality with which an AIESECers’ personality is shaped.
2.Has cross-cultural understanding
How would it feel like if you got a chance to step all by yourself into a country that you have only seen in photographs and work as a team with a group of youngsters around your age, from different corners of the world? Initially, it might not go smoothly due to the many social, cultural, and other differences between each other. But as you gradually begin to embrace the diversity, accept and respect their values and ethics, it will turn into the best team you’ve ever worked with. AIESEC provides this cross-cultural experience to make individuals more flexible, so they have sound knowledge and great sensitivity about different cultures. It affects the leadership approach of an AIESECer so that they do not hesitate to share knowledge with their teammates and value their ideas, views/opinions regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or any other social and cultural deviations.
3.Does not discriminate their fellow people on any basis
As mentioned earlier, an AIESECers’ mindset is constantly trained to embrace the diversity among the people around them. Inclusiveness is a key-value upon which their personality is built. An AIESECer does not discriminate against anyone based on their gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, creed, religion, or national, ethnic, and social origin. Therefore, under the leadership of an AIESECer, anyone is free to bear their own opinion, and their ideas will always be valued. It allows them to make the best out of their potential. This is the kind of leadership that the present world needs when many people are still being discriminated especially based on their sexual orientation.
4.Isn’t just someone who only gives commands
“A leader is someone who assigns the relevant tasks to their followers and gives them commands” is the typical attitude borne by most people about leadership. But the leadership of an AIESECer is far different from that. In AIESEC, leadership isn’t all about assigning tasks and giving commands. If you happen to work on a team led by an AIESECer, one thing you’ll clearly notice is that they guide you while sharing a significant portion of the workload to be completed by the team members. In case if you have issues communicating with your teammates, your leader will always make sure to carry things out in a way that all the team members are familiar with, so you won’t feel uncomfortable. Moreover, an AIESECer is trained to pay particular attention to each team member as a leader. Their leadership attitude is brought up so that they make their team members their priority, not themselves.
5. Well organized and excellent at time management
A responsible leader values time over everything else since nothing can be substituted for time. That’s why an AIESEC leader always has well-organized agenda for both organizational work and personal commitments. By taking ownership of their time, they improve the quality and the quantity of the done by their team members. Through that, they contribute to improving the efficiency of the organization as well. This is why AIESEC leaders work smarter rather than harder.
This is just a handful out of the numerous reasons why an AIESECer is outstanding as a leader. AIESEC is always focused on creating a young global citizen with unmatched leadership attributes. If you are an energetic individual willing to find the leader within you, AIESEC is there to help. AIESEC assures you that you will, one day, be stepping into the world of work as the best leader you can be. Not as just a leader, but as a great leader who turns “Impossible” into “I’m possible.”
By Thilini Thilakarathna
Content Writer | AIESEC in University of Peradeniya