There is a lot of wisdom from what these young men and women leaders had to say. Experienced leaders, like you and I, can learn from, or at least be reminded of, this powerful advice:
1. Leadership is about serving others—those you lead need to know they are important to you. It is about you, the leader, making the sacrifices, not the other way around.
2. Start today--You need to start preparing to be a leader today, not tomorrow, not when you get to college, not when you get to “the” leadership position but today.
3. Let people know you value them-- often we underestimate the impact we can have as leaders when we let others know we appreciate them. A “thank you” note is a simple yet powerful way to show others you care for them.
4. No matter what you do, have fun!—leaders are known for making things happen. How many times do we get so caught up in trying to achieve perfection that we forget to have fun? The greatest leaders are those who have a sense of humor and are able to laugh at themselves.
5. Surround yourself with excellence—not just in the workplace but also in your personal life. As you grow as a person, you outgrow people. Make sure you let go of those you have outgrown in order to make room for those who will help you grow even more.
6. Prioritize and reevaluate---prioritizing is not a one-time thing. As a leader, you must prioritize and reprioritize throughout the day. Short and long-term goals should be prioritized and reevaluated on a consistent base as well.
7. Let your values guide you and show you your true north—as a leader, you must be very clear on what your values are and how they align with the values of your organization. Every decision you make should be guided by those values. Otherwise, you will succumb to the external pressures that every leader must face.
8. Leaders are in no way alike--there is no cookie cutter leader. Embrace your uniqueness, your strengths as well as your weaknesses. There is no such thing as a “super-leader”, only imperfect ones who understand the power of collective intelligence and who tap into it by surrounding themselves with excellence. (see #5)
9. Find your courage and your confidence—a leader must have the courage to make the tough decisions and take the risks required of leadership. A leader must also be confident in his/her capabilities.
10. Manage your time--everyone has the same amount of time, it is about how we choose to use it. Enough said.
11. The importance of building relationships--excellence cannot be achieved in isolation. We need each other to learn and grow and achieve individually and collectively.
12. Never give up; never settle for anything less than your best.
What are your top two take-aways from the above list or from your experience as a leader? Share them in the comments below