It’s Never Too Early to Start Your Leadership Journey

Mar 25, 2020

Elizabeth Houghton

Sutton Full Potential Founder

We often tend to equate leadership skills with management expertise. Also, most people start valuing leadership education only when they reach certain senior positions in an enterprise and need to manage teams.

In reality, if you look at leadership as an activity performed by many instead of seeing it as an exclusive title owned by few, there is a greater chance of getting quality contributions from people. And this is true for any sector. Leadership education could help in laying out a platform for developing self-awareness, interpersonal skills, adaptability, resilience and self-efficacy.

Leadership is About Self-Awareness

There is enough text on leadership that talks about ‘how to become a good leader’. There is a tendency to assume that some people become leaders because they ‘acquire’ the necessary skills. The truth is that the behaviours and/or skills seen in a leader are already present in them; but they are often overlooked and may need greater attention. This is why leadership begins with self-awareness. And with the right guidance, this process self-awareness could begin as early as childhood.

It is true that honing these natural leadership skills may take some time. It is very similar to delivering a project or conceptualising an idea accurately. But you don’t need to wait till you reach a certain position or acquire a senior role in order to start identifying and practising your leadership skills.

Vista Global is a consulting and coaching firm that has been working to develop and execute an extensive leadership curriculum aimed at building students’ competencies. The focus of almost all these competencies is to define and understand oneself as a young leader. The goal of this program is to examine your personal leadership skills and talents. A leader must know themselves before he/she can inspire and motivate others to give their best.

Development of Interpersonal Skills

One of the hallmarks of a good leader is excellent interpersonal skills. And the practice of interpersonal skills can begin quite early, as early as your student days or when you’re working in your first job. A study on science students and researchers reveals that it is often difficult for young researchers to make the transition from science education (focusing on scientific rational methodology) to a corporate environment where they might need to manage teams and deliver results. In such scenarios, leadership education may play an important role in interpersonal dynamic like “handling a difficult colleague’ or “motivating team members”.

When you arrive at an executive position with a good leadership foundation, you will likely demonstrate behaviour that inspires co-workers to take initiatives and do their best in every task assigned. On the other hand, if your leadership character hasn’t been developed in the early stages, when you start your career journey, it might be tough to gain cooperation and credibility from others. You may be faced with problems such as decreased productivity and high staff turnover rate.

The final takeaway is that it is never too late to start your leadership journey. Leadership development can help leaders to become self-aware very early in their careers. They will be in a better position to understand their individual goals and ambitions and how these are aligned with the work they do. This will ultimately improve their relationship and cohesion with co-workers and lead to high performance.

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