Leadership

Do you have what it takes to be a leader? – a 4 min read

We’ve all come across so many leaders over the course of our lifetime. Some might have learnt to be a leader (there are so many leadership development things nowadays, you know), and some might not have. Whether a leader is made or a leader born, we all gravitate towards them. Why did that happen is a question that I’d like to ponder upon before I hand you out the golden words of leadership, so bear with me. 

Be family to your team. 

I’ve had the privilege of meeting several people who have changed me in a good way, for which I’m eternally grateful. What I find in common is that I trust them wholeheartedly. They were not just my team leader, not my manager, or just another teacher or, in simple terms, a leader for me. Most of them were my friends, my sisters and brothers. I knew that they knew me, and vice-versa, I knew them. They had all taken the time to talk with me, laugh with me, listen to me when I was ranting about my worries and, most importantly, they had all been there when I needed them the most. Leadership is not just about getting a team to work to meet deadlines. It is all about building meaningful relationships with everyone. A little listening and paying attention could go a long way. Trust me, I’m proof. 

Trust is key.

Ugh, OK. You may be a good leader. But still, if you end up finding an ugly duckling amongst your team, that may suggest that there’s a problem you should dig deep into. However much we try, there is always one uncooperative person in the corner that won’t work, won’t respond, and sometimes even leaves the team mid-project. I’d recommend talking with them (not just routine one-on-one but seeing what’s wrong, you never know what might come up); maybe something’s not right from your side. Make sure they are comfortable enough to let you know that and be humble to consider those remarks. Trust of a fellow is as fragile as it can be. You’ve got one shot and only one. Who knows if that ugly duckling is a baby Swan who needs that reassurance to move forward. 

 Something that I’ve seen that could be done better most of the time is that either the team leader or the manager takes things into their own hands and starts overworking and overcompensating to meet deadlines when things get hard.

Never ever resort to the band-aid of micromanagement

You must set an example for your team members rather than ordering around, being strict and trying to manage everything to perfection. Although meeting deadlines and completing tasks is essential, there is a reason why you are a leader. At the same time, they are the members of your team. Even though taking the shovel and going into the trench is essential, don’t take it to an unhealthy level. Make sure you never end up in a ‘do it myself’ situation. These ‘do it myself’s would only drain you out. Let your team make mistakes, let them face the consequences. It’s your job to create an environment for them to learn from their mistakes rather than stigmatise them. You might feel the urge to take over, but if you do, that’s where things get dirty. They’d feel undermined and that you don’t trust them enough. Micromanagement is not the cure for a broken team, just as a band-aid would do nothing on a broken bone. 

Finally, to the best part,

The two-word phrase ‘thank you’ and the 3 worded clause ‘I appreciate you’, would make an immense change. You should thank and appreciate not just because someone said so but because you mean it. Preaching those golden words without emotion would leave you at square one, much less the team would be disappointed. 

The skill of learning to honestly express these 5 words would undoubtedly take you to the pinnacle of leadership. Honesty is the elixir that would bring the potion of excellence together. Trust me, All your members look forward to being acknowledged, appreciated, and most importantly, they need to know that you mean it. 

Maybe it is a lot to take in at one go, but small, steady steps could take you a long way. So let’s start with a small ‘thank you’, or a ‘I appreciate you’ first. I am sure you’d start seeing results right away. 

So as my final note, fingers crossed to a successful journey in becoming ‘THE most inspiring person’, ‘THE life changer’ and ‘THE beloved’ of many. 

 

Written by,

Divya Perera,

Content Writer – AIESEC in University of Peradeniya

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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Event, Leadership, Membership

I was at CATALYST 3.0 – An Experience of a Lifetime

“If you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl, but no matter what, don’t give up. Keep going forward.”

 

I’ll start by defining the term “catalyst.” It is a material that speeds up a chemical process without changing chemically in the long run. Simply, it refers to a circumstance, occurrence, or somebody that brings about a material alteration. AIESEC in SLIIT organized its Leadership Development Seminar, Catalyst 3.0, to improve and cultivate its members’ leadership abilities. We’ll see how it stimulated the membership and our organization.

 

Catalyst 3.0 was a two-day conference, and Disnaka Ranasinghe, a.k.a. “Diske,” served as our Chair. I believe he was a friendly individual who gave every session the “vivace” needed. How are you feeling? The Chair would inquire. From the start, the membership was motivated to respond to him, and this enthusiasm persisted through the last day’s final session. This energy alone demonstrates how well the executive board of AIESEC in SLIIT, the organizing committee of CATALYST 3.0,  and the Chair organized and led the sessions.

 

Consequently, our Chair welcomed us in the initial session and made a stunning appearance before talking about how he started his AIESEC journey. We did our outbound training later that day, following lunch. There were about 15 team games to play, and each one had its twists, simultaneously making them both challenging and enjoyable. Each team member needed to get along with the others to execute the strategies and win the games. One thing I’ve always noticed about AIESEC is that while everything the organization does on the surface may seem like entertainment, the motto, lead, innovate and evolve, is deeply ingrained into it. Catalyst 3.0 is an excellent example of it.

 

 

Catalyst 3.0 had a theme party and a variety of informative seminars. Still, my favorite was the final one, “Dreaming,” which was one of the most moving and pivotal moments for AIESEC in SLIIT. At the time of Catalyst 3.0, AIESEC in SLIIT was still an official expansion. Our Chair phrased, “If you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl, but no matter what, don’t give up. Keep going forward,” and that is precisely what we did. All the members held on to each other, and we started walking towards an imaginary line step by step without stopping; everyone was determined to make our Official Expansion becoming a Local Committee dream a reality. Eventually, we crossed the line in a simulation.

Moreover, we did become the 6th Local Committee of AIESEC Sri Lanka only a few weeks following  CATALYST 3.0.

 

And there is no doubt that CATALYST 3.0 catalyzed the dream that the Local Committee has long had!

 

Penned by Easara Weerasinghe

Content Writer, AIESEC in SLIIT

 

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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Leadership, Membership, Programs, Travel

Imparting knowledge while exchanging cultures: Global Classroom 1.0

Finally after months and years of barricades, AIESEC in Colombo North (University of Kelaniya) embarked on the project Global Classroom in the month of July setting forth another remarkable milestone in the entity. The country was facing a hard time in terms of the economic crisis. Nevertheless, AIESECers of CN were delighted to welcome the exchange participants to deliver them the best experience. Therefore, Antonia Ziecke from Germany, Marianka Veraverbeke from Belgium, Mariam Abdelmageed, Dina Abdelrahman and Mona Foud from Egypt began in the last week of June to commence their volunteering journey, here with us CNers. The project for teaching in Sri Lanka lasted for six weeks starting from July. Its main focus was Sustainable Development Goal #4, Quality education.  Their schools were in two different locations, Wise International Kandana and Leeds International, Panadura. Even though they stayed apart on weekdays, they made sure to catch up during weekends exploring Sri Lanka. The best thing was that the exchange participants had a remarkable experience during their working period. Because it was both about teaching and exploring the beauty of Sri Lanka. Since the very first day itself their energy level and enthusiasm was next level. Teaching small children was their passion. Despite the cultural diversities and the differences in school systems, they adapted themselves and had utmost fun throughout their stay. 

IPS Day 

The Incoming Preparation Seminar (IPS), is a significant event in the AIESEC culture. Here we set forth the expectations while exchanging cultures of both parties. The event took place before the volunteers officially proceeded with their project in order to avoid any cultural hindrances. While the cultural exchange took place, we explained them further about their role and the job descriptions. As this was their first encounter together, it was more of a warm hug to ensure that we’ll be there for them throughout their stay over here. The day started with roll calls. Then we introduced some of the cultural cuisine of Sri Lanka. They considered them to be ‘really spicy’ yet couldn’t take their hands off the table. They witnessed our culture, whereas CNers got the opportunity to learn their cultural significance through various activities. 

Exploring Sri Lanka

As much as they enjoyed teaching, one of the main reasons for their arrival to Sri Lanka was the stunning natural wonders we owe. All of them loved traveling. Along with the OC they got the opportunity to explore the city of Colombo. Afterword, some other significant temples as well as beaches along the coast. Trying out various street foods and shopping around in the city, they enjoyed their time. And as the OC, we enjoyed guiding them and spending time with them. Furthermore, the beloved Organizing Committee members took steps to give them the best experiences one can get in Sri Lanka. Thus, we took them to Kandy and Galle, two of the most significant cities in Sri Lanka. Moreover, Kithulgala is considered to be a hub for adventure as well as for nature enthusiasts. From white water rafting to abseiling and exploring waterfalls, they were mesmerized by the beauty of the mountainous regions. “This is the best experience a nature lover can ever get” they said. Besides, the week after, we took them again taken for camping in Blue Beach Island, a destination one should never miss. Everyone along with the OC members had one of the most remarkable visits and collected memories worth a lifetime.   

Final Event & the farewell

Reaching to the end of their volunteering project, as the final output the volunteers gathered and organized a ‘spend a day’ event at the Twinkle Stars Montessori School Panadura. The children were excited to see new faces of the foreign volunteers and everyone had a good time exchanging their cultures through different games and fun activities. Volunteers made sure to reward the children with gifts and handmade cards to mark their presence.  Finally after six weeks of fun and good memories, we only had a week to bid them farewell. In order to make it more memorable the OC organized the farewell party in House of Vandervort, Dehiwala to remarkably end an amazing project of six weeks. Everyone reminisced about all the memorable days and events they had and it was a nostalgic moment as they knew that this is it. The bond they’ve created with the members so far made it hard to bid farewell to them.The OC gifted them with Ceylon tea, significant food items which they loved from Sri Lanka and a significant photograph  marking their presence with us in order to make their journey of six weeks remarkable.  Likewise, with dozens of memories with the exchange participants, the project Global Classroom concluded successfully making it one of the hardest goodbyes in ones life.
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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Leadership, Travel

A brick to the island’s natural wall

If you can remember the tsunami in 2004, then you must remember the thousands of lives it took away and the damage it caused. But we could have lost many more lives and suffered more from severe damage than we faced if there wasn’t a natural buffer that our country has. Especially the mangrove plants that belt around the country played a massive part in that role.

Mangroves protect shorelines and riverbanks from damage due to heavy waves and winds. And their tangled root system helps to bind the soil together and prevent erosion. As a country that is constantly affected by extreme weather events and rising seas due to the results of climate change, we must ensure the protection of our shores more than ever. Therefore after 2004, government and community-led mangrove planting programs have begun and continued till this day to expand island mangrove plant cover.

Last 30th of September, we collaborated with the Coast Conservation Department to replant mangrove plants in regions that still lack adequate natural buffers. This was the 2nd project I participated in as an AIESECer from AIESEC in SLIIT. Our team consisted of two incoming global volunteers (Emily Berlage from Germany and Nadia Swijtink from the Netherlands), three SLIIT AIESECers, three personnel from the Coast Conservation Department, and two boatmen.

At the mangrove plantation, we were instructed on how to extract mangrove plants and propagules, plant them, and the suitable places to plant them. After we had collected plants and propagules, we went to the place where we chose to plant them again. And to reach the replantation area, we had to go by boat since it was difficult to reach by land. On our way to the replantation area, we met some locals harvesting prawns and fishing. It was amazing how this ecosystem provides livelihood opportunities for neighboring communities and essential habitats for thousands of species.

In the end, we were successfully able to plant 326 mangrove plants.

When I joined AIESEC in SLIIT, I wanted to be a part of something that serves society and delivers a huge impact. One day I want to reflect on these memories and remind myself that I lived a remarkable life. AIESEC was found to achieve peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential through cross-cultural experience. On a universal scale, what we did might be trivial, but looking back on the experience we gained, the fun we had, the memories we shared, and the impact we can make through this are amazing. Without a shred of doubt, I can say that this project was able to aim at the objectives I mentioned above, and it caused the betterment of our country.

By Sethum Rashmika
Content Writer
AIESEC in SLIIT

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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Leadership, Lifestyle, Membership

Importance of Feedback at Your Work

Feedback is the breakfast of champions.

Ken Blanchard

What is Feedback

Feedback is the information received by a person based on prior action or behaviour. The feedback focuses more on improving the quality of work. It is simply a guide to identify the accuracy and the places to improve our work.

Why is feedback important?

There is no assigned person to give feedback on your work. Anyone can provide feedback for your work. Significantly, both positive and negative feedbacks are helpful. Positive feedback helps motivate, while negative feedback assists you in improving the work. Effective feedback is beneficial for the entire work as it assists you in the right direction.

 

It motivates you to do the best

 It’s a universal thing that positive feedback can motivate you to do your best. Feedback matters for a quality outcome of the work. The best thing is that you are not only a receiver of feedback, but also you can be a person who gives effective feedback to another person. Therefore remember that you can also be inspirational while being motivated by others’ feedback.

It is the key to Improved performance

Effective feedback is a critical component of successful work. Feedback gives people a better idea and evaluation of their work. It is difficult It isn’t easy to improve the work or do your best without feedback. The feedback encourages the person to do his best and enhances performance. Moreover, giving feedback is the simplest way to provide opinions on work to improve it more to meet the necessary needs.

Personal and professional development

Feedback positively impacts both personal and professional development. Not only professional development but also personal development is demanding at your work. Personal development helps to increase self-confidence, and it positively affects work. On the other hand, feedback directly aids in developing a professional career. The feedback supports quality work and encourages people to continue building their skills.

Accordingly, feedback is one of the main reasons for ongoing development at your work. Feedback supports to builds confidence and outputs quality work with fewer mistakes.

 

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