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The Hardships of Leadership

There are millions of inspiring stories out there of people who have worked hard to become the best version of themselves. We often read about today’s leaders’ stories and there’s a large focus on everything that went right, but not everything is a bed of roses.

Everyone’s leadership journey is different, let’s go over some common obstacles leaders face every day.

 

  1. Fear of failure: Insecurity affects everyone, leaders are no exception. It can be especially hard to deal with when you have a large number of people depending on you. However, mistakes allow us to learn and grow. Accepting them as part of the process is important.

“It is hard to fail but it is worse to never have tried to succeed” – Theodore Roosevelt (26th President of the United States)

 

  1. Lack of communication: Not being able to openly communicate with those around you may affect productivity and lead to conflict. Many leaders sometimes feel disconnected from their team and the best way to fix it is by being transparent about their plans and strategies, encouraging honest feedback and allowing two-way conversations. Pro tip: communicating with people with different levels of authority requires you to be versatile and adapt your speech to each situation

“The difference between mere management and leadership is communication” Winston Churchill (UK’s ex Prime Minister)

 

  1. Dealing with pressure: Managing people’s expectations is something lots of leaders struggle with. It’s essential to acknowledge your feelings in order to control the way you react, since it’s not unusual to be less patient and more defensive in stressful situations. If you let your anxiety go unchecked you may hurt the relationship you have with your co-workers.

“We discover our character through decisions under pressure” – Dan Millman (Author)

 

  1. Burnout: When someone’s truly passionate about what they’re working on it’s easy to push too hard. The truth is, if you burn yourself out, you won’t be leading anyone. Keep a healthy balance between work and life. Considering an excessive amount of work hours a symbol of dedication and courage is wrong.

“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of the time we put in”– Arianna Huffington (co-founder of The Huffington Post)

 

  1. Delivering bad news: Leadership positions are filled with hard decisions. Being able to deliver bad news in an empathetic and clear way will allow you to find the next steps and not negatively impact the workplace’s culture.

“Better to have bad news that are true than good news we made up” – Eric Ries (Entrepeneur)

 

  1. Keeping it human: Vulnerability isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of humanity. You’re not a machine who doesn’t make mistakes. Allowing the people you’re leading to see that gives them an opportunity to remember no one expects them to be perfect, contributing to a supportive and compassionate place of work. Vulnerability is about authenticity and it demonstrates high emotional intelligence.

“A leader, first and foremost, is human. Only when we have the strength to show our vulnerability can we truly lead” Simon Sinek (Author and inspirational speaker)

 

It’s not easy to be a leader. We will always find obstacles along the way that we need to face as challenges instead of problems. Being open to learn and grow from them is extremely important in order to inspire and empower others.

What better way to start your own leadership journey than through a volunteering experience or internship abroad? Visit aiesec.org to check the opportunities we have for you!

3 books to read for the Summer

As the academic year has come to an end, one always seems to aspire for a rejuvenating Summer. Not sure what else you can do than your experience abroad? Whether you are currently prepping to get ready for your internship or volunteering project, I strongly advise you to take time to read these three books this Summer. What makes your experience with AIESEC so unique is that we help you conquer the world with our ‘Inner- and Outer Journey’ for leadership development, this means not only to gain professional hands on experience or impacting a community, but to also dig deep within yourself to enhance what we acknowledge as leadership qualities, being more self aware, being a world citizen, being solution oriented and being able to empower others. These books truly reflect on how to enhance these qualities and will help you on your journey to conquer the world. 

The first book is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. A truly inspiring author who takes her approach to how to embrace your innate creativity and how it is your key to success. She draws inspiration from her family an friends to prove just how going for what you truly want and breaking down your fears will make you truly successful. This work of art contains how to create your art, how to cope with professional challenges or to accomplish your dream or to as well make your daily life more rewarding. Every young person should give this a read. 

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The second book is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. He speaks of the seven habits every leader should form and obtain in order to be truly successful in life itself. He also speaks of how to make these habits stick and why they are ultimately necessary in order for you as a person to grow and the importance of working in a team. His book is now widely read amongst professionals and young people seeking to upscale his/her business or organisation. 

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Last, but not least Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. This Stanford University professor came up with the theory of Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset. Mind you that growth mindset does not necessarily see growth in the sense of numbers, but growth as a person. On this note I would like to quote Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

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Take a chance to read these books this Summer on your experience. I believe these books will make you more self aware about what you want in life and who you are, they will make you more agile and solution oriented and I believe they will encourage you to empower others. These books will enhance your experience abroad with AIESEC. Have a great Summer and let us know online what you think by tagging us on your social media at @aiesecinaustria on both instagram and facebook and using the #livetheexperience hashtag!  

 

Missed the opportunity to go abroad this Summer? Don’t miss the opportunity to go abroad this Winter, sign up here.