Leading by influence

“The way to successful leadership today is influence, not authority” -Ken Blanchard-

Leading. Leadership. What exactly is the way to define leadership? What is the best approach we should take to define and implement leadership? One might question themselves when hearing the words, ‘Leading by influence’. And such a question raised is quite valid, and reasonable. 

So what exactly is leadership? Leading? What is that? What does it mean? 

To quench the curiosity, there is no clear cut definition for leadership or, much rather, it differs in meaning from person to person. 

Nevertheless, leadership is commonly agreed upon as the technique in which one person has an influence on a group or a collection of individuals and by that means directing them to move forward. Then comes the word, leading. What is leading? Quite frankly, leading is guidance, leading is guiding; it is the noun leadership put into action; the verb. 


First and foremost, before initiating guidance or lead, the leader must create a vision; a goal for the future and proffer an idea to implement. After that, it is essential to hand over different tasks to each individual but the most quintessential task is to inspire; to influence them. Inspiring; influencing is the best means of motivation. It can cause more effort, thus making the work more productive and better. 

The ability to influence is an essential leadership skill. To influence, candidly means to have an impact on the behaviors, attitudes, mindsets and opinions of others. What we should bear in mind is that influence is not power or ultimate control. It is neither manipulation nor being an ableist. 

Mutual trust and confidence is the foundation for the leader’s ability to influence others. Influence and trust are directly proportional to each other. 

How can leaders build trust and influence others effectively?

  1. Substantiate credibility 
  • Stephen Covey, in his book ‘The Speed of Trust’, emphasizes that leaders must establish trust and thus thereby influence by establishing credibility first. Integrity, intent, capabilities and results are four foundational elements needed to establish one’s credibility, he adds.
    2. Build a strong connection and network. 
  • In simple terms, it means to ‘socialize’. To influence others, the team or individuals have to be involved. Work as a team, address their needs, appreciate the tiniest of efforts portrayed and by exhibiting sincere commitment, a good leader can build a great influence over his/her team.

    ‘Go Dutch’ on your passion. 
  • Sharing one’s passion, ignites and motivates others to do the same and support each other. In the words of Kouzes and Posner, ‘If a leader displays no passion for a cause, why should anyone else care?’ indicating that good leaders influence others by sharing their passion, enthusiasm and excitement.

    Demonstrate openness 
  • Be willing to listen to others. Whether it be their opinions, criticism or needs. By engaging in such a discussion and manner, respect and trust will definitely boom forth and will enhance the leader’s ability to influence. 

Leadership is an art, influencing is the canvas, trust is the colorant and varnish. 

A leader is not someone who does not pull in front of other members but someone who pushes behind others’ who resonated with him/her. A good influential leader loves to learn how to move forward with the members, creating chemistry between their dynamics while doing so.

No matter what stage you are in your professional or academic life, it is possible to have a major and positive impact on anyone by leading through influence, try applying these methods to increase your influence positively. 

Have fun and good luck!

Authored By,
Rithu Varshavi
AIESEC in University of Colombo

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Striving for Peace and Excellence with AIESEC

AIESEC focuses on empowering youth to make the world a better place, by fostering leadership skills within young people and entrusting them to become value-driven leaders who can change the world by overcoming obstacles. As you are aware, the word “PEACE” has had a significant influence on AIESEC from its inception. Even the purpose of AIESECers is ‘striving for peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential’. 

Everyone should be at peace with themselves and with others while interacting toward success. Young leaders will be instructed on these six values by AIESEC so that they can ensure the establishment of peace wherever they go and in any circumstance. By,

  •  Activating leadership
  • Acting sustainably
  •  Striving for excellence
  • Living diversity
  • Enjoying participation
  • Demonstrating integrity, AIESECers strive to fulfill their mission.

 “Values are the guiding principles that help you determine what is right or wrong”. Knowing the AIESEC values is not enough as they must be lived. AIESECers are privileged with a ton of incredible opportunities where they can use their potential to spread these values among communities all over the world in a variety of ways.

Simply wait and reflect. What does “striving for excellence” mean exactly? When we pursue excellence, we push ourselves to provide the highest order work in everything we do. If there is no peace, what good does it do to be the best at anything?

However, “PEACE” does not always imply the absence of a war. It has numerous facets. We might argue, which people do tend to do. Everyone can arrive at successful solutions by incorporating a little “PEACE” at the end of the day. “PEACE” fulfills its duty in this manner.

Nevertheless, how can we determine the precise moment to allow “PEACE” to accomplish its purpose? AIESEC comes into play in this situation. As was already mentioned, by participating in various functions, one can develop their unique skill sets while also assisting others in their AIESEC journey. 

From what I’ve observed as yet, I’m confident that AIESEC will always show you the way out of striving for excellence in whatever you are passionate about, whether you are just starting out or have already achieved a lot. And you’ve just witnessed something I’m passionate about. 

Congratulations to all AIESECers on making it this far!


Authored By,
Apoorwa Amarathunga
Content Writer
AIESEC in University of Colombo

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The Unconventional Guide to become a better version

There was a girl who really wanted to interact with many people but was afraid and didn’t get a chance to do it. But, after a long journey, I can say after a lot of ups and downs she got her wish coupon to find a place where that facilitates her, to be her, identifying her skills as well as mistakes and more importantly finding new and cool people that she ever saw in her entire life. 

So, that girl is me, who’s still a little newbie for the winter peak of AIESEC in CC. They say, “Hey AIESEC”, we say, “What’s up?” This is the sweetest and the hottest term that I ever heard. From the very first day to now, everyday and every second was a beautiful memory as well as there was something to learn each day. I learnt a lot of abbreviations and a unique culture which belongs to the AIESECers and I thought “ Wow, this is gonna be a cool period of time in my life”.

    When I come to the point of how AIESEC helps me to improve myself, it improves my soft skills, and it tries to bring out my inner leader and I am really passionate about this. All our LCVPs, managers, TLs as well as fellow members tell every single newbie to experience everything, don’t miss anything that causes you to regret later and yeah, I did so. I applied for a back office function, but I didn’t get selected. But I thought that, at least I learnt how to face an interview. Then after a few days they opened applications for an organizing committee. And now I’m experiencing the atmosphere of an organizing committee as a vice president. 

So, AIESEC teaches me how to bear failures because we may not succeed every time. It’s a common thing in our working life as well as our personal life. And it teaches me to be a brave girl who has that enthusiasm to experience new things which affects my life in a good way. And more importantly, it teaches me how to balance my academics with the other extra activities because sometimes we may get some difficulties by handling all of these things at once. Basically, AIESEC gives birth to a potential person to the society every single day and encourages the younger generation all over the world.

When it comes to the position called LCP in our entity, she gave us really good insights of her AIESEC journey and how she managed to do all the things while doing an  internship as well. And the main qualities that I got into my life is always being responsive and being responsible to what you do. AIESEC always gives us opportunities to fulfill what they said in their vision as to get the cross cultural experience as well be a potential young leader who can handle and manage everything even if it would be difficult. 

Getting selected to AIESEC in CC was one of my great commitments after getting selected to the university. And I truly believe AIESEC always encourages me to do what I love to do. It always shows the right path to my academic life as well. Finally, I can say to my friends that don’t give up on things even if you are not going to try. Don’t give up on things once you are rejected. Tolerate the pain somehow and keep trying until you get it into your hands. Because you loved it and therefore you deserve it.     

Cheers to all the young leaders out there !!!!!

Authored By,
Sanduni Sasanka
AIESEC in University of Colombo

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Practicing resilience in leadership

“Resilience is the capacity not only to endure great challenges but also to get stronger in the midst of them.”

Professor Nancy Koehn


Resilience is one of the crucial ingredients of a leader. It adds value to a leader’s persona as it develops his/her adaptability. Such development results in sustainable changes. It will also help build the capability to withstand unexpected difficulties. That is why resilience is a crucial characteristic of a high-performing leader. Being able to be resilient will train a leader to recover from any unexpected challenges. Cultivating this value to escape comfort zones will help a leader to advance and succeed.


What is resilient leadership?

Resiliency is an essential skill as we live in a world where its possible to have unexpected crises or emergencies. Such situations disturb the expected flow of any planned process. That is where resiliency becomes more critical. Resiliency along with leadership gives more value to a person since it helps establish success. Also, during failures, it will be reflected as adopting new changes while leading and innovating a sustainable way to achieve the ultimate goal.


Why is it important?

Proper leadership with an analytical mindset is essential for an organization. This is because appropriate and carefully laid out decisions can accomplish realistic goals. It will increase the strength of a leader to bounce back from setbacks effectively. That is to say that they will sustainably accept and overcome the failures.


How to develop as a resilient leader?

Success does come without effort. We need to strategize our actions and follow suitable methodologies. Here are some tips for managing your leadership and evolving as a resilient leader.

  • Clear vision with a purpose:

Having a clear vision and a purpose helps a person define their leadership. This will become the key to success. The purpose will become their inner strength, bringing more value to their efforts. It will help him/her withstand opposing arguments in a challenging environment. The purpose drives the leader to be strong and become well aware of the nature of the challenges.

  • Building expectations with self-awareness

A great leader needs to be the one who plans and waits for expectations to meet. In the meantime, they will build their decision-making skills in challenging times without discrimination to make judgments. This will show a leader’s strength, vision, and focus on ultimate goals.


  • Being persistent in overcoming challenges:

Resilience is not only about the efforts made in order to succeed. It is also an ingredient that trains us to accept our own failures. Those failures become our most valuable lessons throughout a proper decision-making process. A leader does not need to be someone who is always correct. Rather he/she is the one who is willing to open up and learn from failures. For many, failures may seem like complete chaos. However for an emerging leader, it is a ladder that leads to growth.


  • Building a growth mindset

A strong belief and self-confidence will help a leader to become stronger. A growth mindset will give you more space to grow and become a better version of yourself than your yesterday’s self. That is why self-evaluation is important. Doing so will allow self-growth since it requires reflecting on one’s strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, it will enable the whole team to develop and rewrite their own definition of leadership.

Do not let yourself down because of failures. You are a phoenix emerging through fire.

Conclusion, AIESEC?

Thomas Alva Edison failed 10,000 times just to see the light bulb work. But he did not perceive that as a failure. He was resilient and saw failure as a positive learning curve. While effectively managing your time, you can be prepared for any challenge since it can be inevitable. Therefore, you can view failures as opportunities to explore and redefine yourselves. AIESEC is one of the largest youth-led volunteer organizations, providing countless opportunities to improve your leadership and managerial skills. Opportunities do not wait at your doorstep like letters from Hogwarts to a wizard. So, are you ready to take the opportunity to develop yourself as a resilient leader?

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Ultimate Guide for Future Leaders

“Leadership should be focused on extending the ladder of opportunity for everyone”  – Justin Trudeau

Being the world’s largest youth run organization, AIESEC owes leadership as the lifeline, inspiring a huge community of introvertive who will become the leaders of the future.

AIESEC definitely develops the leader within you, if you are ready to face the challenges to meet the goals that AIESEC defines.  AIESEC has its own unique leadership model. Rather showcasing it provides you uncountable opportunities to attribute the four leadership qualities of AIESEC; empowering others, becoming a world citizen, being solution-oriented and having self-awareness.

AIESEC provides milestone opportunities such as exploring teaching, exploring interning, exploring volunteering etc. Through these, one can learn how to manage and cooperate with people and how to extract the best qualities of a person. They also lead you to have awesome experiences knowing different cultures and traditions, and understanding others’ views and perspectives. One may have the chance to work with foreign students, counselors and people of different qualities throughout their volunteering period. The process makes the volunteer able to become a global citizen.

Teamwork is a life skill which is focused throughout the leadership journey of AIESEC. All the members, team leaders and executives work together in AIESEC doing different projects which are built around sustainable development goals, while organizing multiple leadership development seminars. So, the leaders mask their whole team by empowering others. This emphasizes the cooperation that must be retained within a leader to guide his/her team for the ultimate success. This team work also helps in finding the best solutions for every single problem. Thus, the AIESECers are always solution oriented.


An AIESECer has the great opportunity of climbing the AIESEC ladder, which opens up billions of new national and international affairs. One who starts from the member level can climb step by step up to international levels. This journey helps to experience and build up various leadership skills; ability to understand and tolerate others’ ideas, ability to respect the leader, ability to obey the rules and customs etc. This finally creates the best version of an individual, whom the world is asking for.

So, being an AIESECer not only makes you a leader, but also creates a great memorable personality within you.

Authored By,
Imandi Abeysekara
Content Writer
AIESEC in University of Colombo


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