Strategic Advice for Young Leaders

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The Leaders Contribution …

starts with trust, especially for young leaders. If you are seeking greater leadership responsibility, here are some ideas that you need to consider, in order to move your career forward.

Key qualities that are “make-or-break” for young leaders:

  • Ability to see the “big picture” – to think in terms of outcomes for a group, a cause or an objective. The “big picture” needs to be phrased and articulated in terms of others (other people) and what the vision means for the group
  • Vision that creates opportunity for all involved
  • Convincing communication of these four words: “I’ve Thought This Through”
[box] “We set young leaders up for a fall if we encourage them to envision what they can do before they consider the kind of person they should be.”

– R. Ruth Barton


What is your personal leadership style?

That may be a tough question to answer if you’ve never been in a leadership role. Consider roles you may have had in the past, where you had to lead a team. Examples could include:

  • Coaching a team sport
  • Serving as a Resident Assistant at a university
  • Graduate assistant work – where you helped create new outcomes for students in some way
  • Internships – what initiative did you show last summer?
  • Undergraduate or graduate courses where you had to pull together a team for a class project or volunteer work
  • Fraternity, sorority or other organizations where you marshaled resources around a common goal

Every team leader wants team members who are loyal, trustworthy, personable – but, how do you demonstrate and qualify these “soft” skills? How can you know if a person possesses integrity? Passion? People skills? And, how do you analyze “self-confidence?” Is mine better or worse than yours, and what level makes a good fit for the team? The answers are a reflection of your own core values, your personality and your leadership style. Building a diverse team means being adaptable to a variety of talents and characteristics, while making sure that your vision and communication are always on-message.

The key to positioning your strengths, as a leader, comes from your communication style. The words you choose will teach people how to treat you, how to pay you and how to follow your ideas. Here are some additional thoughts on leadership, and some action steps that you can take, today, to make your message matter:


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