Are You a Designated or Silent Leader?

Remember the Zamboni driving goalie?  He saved the day by rising to the occasion and became a silent leader. He wasn’t the designated goalie that would lead the team to victory.  But he stepped up to the challenge and with each save he brought each member of his team and the fans along with him on an amazing experience.

Silent leaders step up from the ranks.  They bring others along through voice and actions, they listen to what the team is saying, they keep their eyes and ears engaged with learning and tap into that knowledge when the need is evident.  Along the way they continually build trust and appreciation with their teammates.

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, addresses the power of Level 5 Leadership.  Tapping into humility and will.  The power of Silent Leadership capitalizes on opportunity and maximizing that humility and will.  The Zamboni driver upped his own game and others followed.  His ego stayed in check and the high of his will drove him forward.

Designated leaders carry the position identifier or title, coach, owner, CEO, president, manager, captain, you get the idea.  Silent leaders emerge from within the group and often are the catalyst in critical times.  Our interest and desire impact our decision to take on one or the other role, but our humility and will can be the game changers.

We have all been a leader at some point.  If you ever played Follow the Leader as a kid you’ve been a leader.  Maybe you lead a group in school,  served as captain of a team, perhaps you lead a department at work or even own your own company and carry the title CEO.  All of these carry this common denominator, everyone else was following.  Some leaders are designated while others are silent.  So, what leadership characteristics are natural to you?  What skill set do you need to build?

Are you wanting to take the next steps in your career?  Want to up your game?  Let’s figure it out…..let’s connect!

3 A’s for a Successful High School to College Plan

Building a plan for success begins as early as middle school since your grades transferring in to high school will determine the level of courses in your schedule.  But once you are there it’s important to remember that there are 3 A’s to keep in focus.

Active and Targeted Community Service – Get involved with something that moves you.  Identify a community or church organization that needs volunteers, accommodates your school schedule, and allows you an opportunity to participate in something you find interesting enough to want to learn and do more.  These are great career exploration opportunities, so target something and get active!

Authentic Leadership Experiences – Not only should you be involved, but seize the opportunity to take on a leadership role.  It builds character, experience, and can become a critical factor for admissions to universities and colleges.   In order to be authentic, you have to be an involved leader and not just carry the title.

Academic Rigor – Challenge yourself to take the most difficult level courses you can manage while maintaining the highest GPA.  Universities want to see a demonstration of your ability to learn at a higher level.  Slackers need not apply.

Build a plan for success by paying attention to all of the A’s!

Being the Leader

Do you remember your elementary school days when you wanted to be the line leader?

Why did you want to be the leader?

  • First to get to the destination?
  • Sense of authority or power over those behind you?
  • Feeling like you could take them anywhere?

Do you still want to be the leader?

Last week I suggested that you read an article about Leadership and the importance in today’s job market and the admissions process for college.  The author, Jason Jakus, wrote about eight qualities of Leadership.  I agree wholeheartedly with all eight, but I would add one more…Responsibility.  Good leaders take responsibility.

So as you look back over your own leadership characteristics and how they align with the eight indicated by Mr. Jakus, consider a time when you took responsibility for a situation and how your own leadership qualities emerged.  What was the situation?  What action did you take?  How long did it take?  What was the outcome?  If you can answer these questions, you just framed a response to an interview question about your own leadership.  You don’t have to be chairman of a corporation or committee, president of a club or organization to demonstrate leadership.  But you do need to consider your own leadership qualities and determine how or if there is a need to develop you more fully in order to be marketable to universities and employers.

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Leadership – Affirming It Truly Is for All

Have you taken the time to assess your own leadership qualities?  Did you know that leadership is being viewed by college admissions offices and employers as a valuable asset for all individuals who are making applications to their organizations?  Where do you stand with demonstrating humor, planning, vision, creativity, integrity, openness, assertiveness and development?

The following link leads to a wonderful article on the importance of leadership and the impact on anyone looking to get a job in the future.  Leadership is not something that happens overnight and it is not just for heads of corporations or nations.  Please take a few minutes to read the article and assess your own inventory of leadership qualities.

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Promoting Yourself

Several months ago I posted a blog titled, The STARS and Secrets to a Successful Interview. The content applied to students interviewing for college admissions or individuals interviewing for positions in the workforce.  This month, as I write about Leadership, the concept of interviewing technique once again is quite applicable and becoming even more important in a highly competitive admissions or job market.

So, as you prepare for an interview and reflect on your experiences and the things you want to promote about yourself follow through with secrets #3 and 4 and promote your leadership capabilities with confidence.

Secret #3 – STARS – Since past behavior may be a predictor of future performance, many organizations are turning to questions that require the interviewee to provide specific examples of situations that are indicators of how they may perform in the new environment.  That’s where the STAR comes in.   In answering a question that asks you to give an example, follow this formula:

     Situation – Identify the situation you are going to reference

Time frame – Identify the time frame that the situation required from start to finish

Action – State the actions that you took to resolve the situation

Results – State the results as they relate to your actions

Secret #4 – Do Your Own Interview – Make sure you have done your homework before the interview.  Know as much about the organization as you possibly can and be prepared with your own questions.  Your interview is not just about what you can do for the organization, but also how good the organization is for you.  Questions that you ask should not have answers readily available on the website or literature about the organization.  They should be specific to the position, supporting positions and opportunities for growth.  Demonstrate your interest and your desire to be a leader!


Creating Leadership Opportunities

All too often people wait to be nominated or appointed to leadership positions for clubs, organizations, committees or teams.  But more and more, universities and employers are looking at leadership as a defining characteristic worthy of selecting one candidate over the other.  Even the interview process has evolved to the point of employers or admissions advisers questioning the specific examples of leadership you have referenced on a resume’ or application.  They want to know the circumstances that created a situation of need, what action you took, and the outcome as a result of your leadership.  So padding a resume’ or application with frivolous titles is not an effective option!

Creating leadership opportunities means stepping up to the plate and offering your expertise, time or desire to lead the group.  It also means listening to others, having your eyes open for opportunities and thinking about the current circumstances and what possibilities exist to make a difference.  Leaders make a difference because they create something bigger than themselves.

When you reflect on your resume’, can you demonstrate leadership?  If not, think about what you have to offer your team, club, organization or committee and how you can step up to the plate and lead them in a direction that will make a difference.  Think about needs in your community or organization, policies or procedures that need to be updated or mentoring programs that could be developed.  Leaders are not confined to positions of corporate authority or heads of nations.  Leaders are all around us and so are the needs that can provide opportunities.  What action will you take?