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, 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

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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Leadership, Travel

Sri Lanka – a country where you feel like home! Let Ben inspire you to volunteer in Sri Lanka

Ben Kevser made her dreams come true when she took the courageous step to fulfill them.

“My AIESEC adventure started after I met Kocaeli – AIESEC branch. Thanks to their faith and support in me, I am now in Sri Lanka. I am where my dreams are.

Why Sri Lanka?

Kandy Esala Perahara

It is a country that still preserves its culture, language, faith, sincerity, and nature, and it attracts me. Not a single person does not smile when I walk the streets. The light in their eyes makes me feel like I belong here. I wonder how easy it is to get along with the people of this country, especially without knowing any English.

During a previous volunteering experience, I met friends who helped me learn English. It felt like we had known each other for a long time. Perhaps the common purpose bound us together. I didn’t give up in times of crisis. Though my family expressed their worries about the situation, I was relieved by interacting with the AIESEC volunteers in Sri Lanka. And the experience was splendid!

Ben's StoryThey give priority to tourists and are remarkable in terms of hospitality. I can say this to the volunteers coming from Turkey. The AIESEC volunteers of Sri Lanka are incredibly welcoming and working to contribute to our safety, happiness, and well-being. Now I can say that this was not difficult to achieve with the inner peace of living my dreams.

Don’t put off your dreams just because you are hesitant. Sri Lanka is a country with so many diversities. Now is the time to register and take your first step towards your journey.


By Ben Kevser
Volunteer from Turkey


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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Leadership

How AIESEC reshapes and brings out one’s value-driven leadership

If anybody asks an AIESECer to describe what AIESEC is in two keywords, without a doubt, 9 out of 10 answers probably would be ‘Youth’ and ‘Leadership.’ And that is the closest answer to what AIESEC is. To make it more describable, we could say AIESEC is a global network that believes that youth leadership is not an option but a responsibility. 


But what is so special about these leadership skills that only AIESEC is providing an opportunity to develop? If this has been a question you’ve been looking for answers to, guess what? You’re in the right blog to find out why we, as AIESECers, are being given a golden ticket of a lifetime. 


Before getting to these answers and why leadership from AIESEC is unique, we’ll first ask ourselves what leadership is. For someone, leadership could simply be guiding a team to do specific tasks or having an impact. And another could be setting an example for the followers in a group or an organization, etc., and achieving goals through teamwork. Yes, all of the above answers are very true, and there can be many more definitions of leadership. But then what stands out from AIESEC and its leadership from these above said basic concepts on leadership? The answer is “Values.”


From AIESEC, leadership isn’t another concept that is typically just taught. We, as AIESECers, break that cycle and what AIESEC gives us is to develop values that we believe leaders should live by. And there are six of these most important values, which are as follows.


6 Core Values of AIESEC Leadership

  1. Demonstrating integrity – Having that moral principle of doing what is fitting rather than comfortable. 
  2. Striving for excellence – AIESEC provides many global volunteering opportunities and internships. You’ll find your true potential by overcoming those challenges and continuously growing through creativity and innovation.
  3. Enjoy participation – There is no other organization on earth that would get you to celebrate and enjoy every single occasion to the maximum and bring youthful enthusiasm out of your system than the AIESEC.
  4. Acting sustainably – creating a mindset that is not just to think of the present but also about the future generations and taking wise steps in the right direction through living sustainably. 
  5. Activating leadership – from getting to lead by example to showing empathy and compassion and inspiring others to teach as well. 
  6. Living diversity – freedom to be who you are and to be accepted in a non-judgmental society that AIESEC has created, embracing each other’s differences as strengths. 

Therefore, as the youth and AIESECers, we are provided with a grand stage filled with opportunities to develop our potential and leadership through these values and showcase how we can make a better impact on this world and the society we live in. But in the end, there’s one last question to be asked. 


Are you ready to take up the challenge of becoming the best leader you can be?

Penned by Semin Balasuriya
Content Writer, AIESEC in SLIIT

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The need for a change in our energy sources – 3 questions we can ask ourselves

Blue skies, beautiful sunsets, elegant beaches. All of us want to live in a beautiful world, just clean and pleasurable but that might not be the case, not too long in to the future. Each and every day the world is stepping towards the brink of an ecological disaster and the main culprit for that has been the adverse energy sources we have been using for a long time. Although being beneficial, the benefits of them don’t counter the costs we have to pay. “What can us as the youth do about it?” you might ask. There’s more than you think.

Where are we at?

Not in a good position to be honest. Already we are seeing the signs of a dark future, quite literarily. While one of our main energy sources, fossil fuel is running out, the drastic effects of over the limit consumption has set the world on a dark path. Day by day the news of people dying due to the adverse effect of the increased global temperature has been on the rise. The animals who have lost their habitats have increased. The sea level is on the rise, setting the lives of a large percentage of the global population at risk.

 Level of wildfires is at a record height. The vegetation cover is rapidly depleting. The list goes on and on. The massive ecological disaster that we are leading to is quite frightening. What’s more frightening is we are yet to take measures that will make maximum impact and some of us are still in denial of the global catastrophe we are in.

Who’s responsible?

Who else but humans. Since the days of the industrial revolution with the use of fossil fuel based energy sources, the world has been on a dark path unbeknownst to the general population but now it’s not the case anymore. We all can see it with our own eyes. We can’t just shrug it off with a “We don’t feel it, let it be others’ problem” attitude. 

While us humans are the one’s responsible, we are the same ones who have to do something about it. That’s where we as the youth of the society could do a massive contribution to make this right. At the end of the day, who better than the youth to lead the charge for a better future. We have the strength and the mindset to make that happen. Otherwise we ourselves are the ones who will have to face the dire consequences.

What can we do?

A move to sustainable energy. As dramatic as it sounds, it doesn’t have to be that way. While many countries around the world have changed their energy policies to a more sustainable way, there’s still more to do and we as the youth could raise our voices to make that happen. 

We could educate ourselves on sustainable energy and spread the message to the society on why should we make the move and what we will gain for a better tomorrow. Initiatives can be planned and executed to make the community aware about what’s going in the world and why we need a change in our energy policies. There are already a vast community of youth stepping up and driving a massive campaign to make our future a better place. It’s time for us to join hands with them.

“We live in a strange world where children must sacrifice their own education in order to protest against the destruction of their future. Where the people who have contributed the least to this crisis are the ones who are going to be affected the most.”

-Greta Thunberg

Let’s not pass this along to our future generations. Ultimately what I believe is we are the ones who could make the most impact to promote this topic. Let’s make it happen one day at a time.  

We as AIESEC in University of Moratuwa are ready to lead the charge and embark on a journey of making the nation’s youth step up towards that goal. It will be here sooner than you think.

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