AIESEC in Sri Lanka partnered with IFS, a global IT enterprise software leader, to venture beyond traditional boundaries and explore the essence of genuine leadership. Through their collaborative Vodcast Series, the partnership delved into diverse leadership styles – from inspiring influencers who ignite passion through words to silent influencers whose wisdom echoes in their actions. The discussions aimed to reshape perspectives and empower young leaders, encouraging them to pursue their aspirations limitlessly. By uniting the expertise of both organizations, this series sought to bridge the gap between youth and leadership.

Innovativation versus convention

The vodcast series commenced with a focus on innovative leadership versus conventional methods. Guest speaker Rafaela Fernando, a seasoned photographer and entrepreneur, shared insights on leadership, emphasizing innovative approaches. She viewed leadership as vision-driven and stressed the importance of having a plan and vision for effective leadership. Rafaela delved into her photography career, initially leading herself in a male-centric industry and later leading a team.

She explored conventional leadership, highlighting its goal-oriented nature and emphasizing the importance of communication within that structure. Rafaela strongly advocated for innovative leadership, citing empathy, communication, and flexibility as crucial components. Her beliefs centred on valuing individual talents, embracing failure, and nurturing human connections in the workspace. The discussion covered various leadership styles, advocating for an innovative, empathetic, and value-driven approach in today’s dynamic work environments.

Self-leadership

The vodcast series featured an insightful conversation on unlocking one’s inner potential and mastering self-leadership with guest speaker Fahad Farook, an International Trainer, Certified Transformational Coach, and Development Specialist. The conversation delved into the concept of self-leadership, emphasizing its importance in personal and professional growth.

Fahad highlighted that self-leadership is not about waiting for external direction but taking control of one’s actions, making decisions, and assuming responsibility. He stressed the need for self-awareness, a sense of ownership, and authenticity, urging individuals to understand their motivations, strengths, and areas for improvement. Moreover, the discussion extended to the role of self-leadership in the workplace, where the proactive

pursuit of personal development contributes to rapid professional growth. The vodcast also addressed the impact of technology on self-leadership, emphasizing the need for disciplined use of technology rather than blaming it for distractions. The overall message conveyed was that self-leadership starts with an individual’s ability to control and focus their mind, irrespective of external factors. The episode provided valuable insights into fostering self-leadership as a fundamental aspect of personal and professional success.

Digital transformation and leadership

Sajeewa Dissanayake, a musician, Meta-certified Trainer, Meta-certified Community Manager, and banker, explored the topic of digital transformation and leadership. He highlighted the shift to online activities during COVID-19 as an example and emphasized companies moving towards digital methods. Key leadership qualities for digital transformation include being tech-savvy, thinking innovatively, and understanding employees’ emotional needs. Sajeewa stressed the importance of cultivating digital skills from childhood but noted challenges in some areas of Sri Lanka. The impact of digital transformation was discussed, citing benefits like time and cost savings, but also concerns about children’s internet exposure and increased work-related stress. Sajeewa expressed skepticism about Sri Lanka’s readiness for digital transformation, citing limited internet access in rural areas. Overall, the vodcast emphasized the essential role of digital literacy in leadership and the need for practical and empathetic approaches.

Personal branding

In the engaging episode featuring Dushyanth Weeraman, the discussion centred on the intricate relationship between personal branding and leadership.  Dushyanth highlighted how personal branding is critical in the commercial world and essential for creating awareness and identifying oneself in today’s competitive landscape. However, he challenged the notion that personal branding is a prerequisite for effective leadership, underscoring that not all leaders gained their positions based on skills or ethical practices. Reflecting on his unconventional journey shaped by his passion for performance, Dushyanth emphasized the organic nature of personal branding, advocating for authenticity over forced brand creation. He shared pivotal moments where he realized the importance of personal branding in leading his band, Kurumba, without overshadowing its identity. Moreover, Dushyanth addressed the challenges of managing diverse personalities within the band, highlighting the significance of understanding each member’s strengths while fostering collaboration. His key takeaway emphasized the unpredictability of life and the importance of embracing the present, encouraging individuals to pursue happiness and personal fulfilment.

Reflecting on the whole leadership spectrum

In the final episode of our Vodcast series, the different styles of leadership within the leadership spectrum were explored. The guests, Ms. Chanukah Gunewardena and Ms. Ashinsanie Weerasinghe shared their insights on these various leadership styles. The discussion started with innovative versus conventional leadership and expanded to how personal branding plays a huge role in leadership.

‘Without convention, there’s no innovation’ the guests highlighted, emphasizing that different situations require different approaches. Sharing one of her personal experiences at Toastmasters, Ms. Ashinsanie said that transformational leaders show you the options, instead of giving direct orders. In the leadership spectrum, leadership and technology are interdependent. The vodcast discussed how they complement each other. When it comes to collaborative and inclusive leadership, both Ms Ashinsanie and Ms Chanukah shared how they adapt them in their professional life. Either inclusive or collaborative, both should get everyone to feel included. By mentioning the tagline, ‘Moment of Service’ at IFS, as a fitting example of service leadership, the guests added how service leadership creates a good environment for employees to work. Self-leadership, our guest mentioned, is the leader having the discipline and setting the foundation to guide a team. The final episode concluded with a topic most relevant for today, ‘Personal Branding’, which, our guests shared, is an investment that you make for yourself.

The collaboration between AIESEC in Sri Lanka, known for its youth leadership skills, and IFS, recognized for its industry expertise, offers a robust platform to foster leadership development among youth in Sri Lanka. This partnership significantly boosts personal and professional growth, empowering individuals to become impactful leaders in their fields and create positive changes in their communities.

Watch AIESEC in Sri Lanka’s collaborative Vodcast Series with IFS here.

 

Written by Sithmi Vithanage

National Showcasing Team

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