On leadership: We can all be a leader!

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By Sara Steffan

My leadership profile paper reminded me that I didn’t have to already know how to be a leader in order to become one. I just had to know that capability was already within me.

I was thrilled to be able to spend some time with myself, thinking about my strengths (some experience, confidence, fearlessness) and areas to improve (write more, read more, act more) but I realized I couldn’t get anywhere until I started with others. They would have the best advice for me to understand what makes a good leader.

I talked to two female coworkers advancing in their careers at a young age (under 35), who told me that anything is possible, as long as you had a few attributes:

  •  Courage, or being able to go after your dreams and recognize that even you have a “seat at the table”
  • Confidence, or knowing that your unique talents are valuable to others
  • Curiosity, or willingness to learn anything and everything
  • Passion, or the perseverance to stick with your chosen field
  • Integrity, or being able to be trusted by your peers.

I was surprised at how simple those traits were. Many people don’t realize it, but they have the ingredients for a leader within them; it just may take some practice to reveal them!

I really liked specifically the “Four Agreements” that my boss Megan mentioned. In the picture, the “agreements” are outlined with their basic requirements: be impeccable with your word, don’t make assumptions, don’t take anything personally and always do your best. These strategies can be practiced in your every day life and translated to the working world fairly easily. Before you know it, you could be advanced in your career due to your professionalism and maturity. The concepts of the Four Agreements show that you can be relied upon to represent your employer well.

Thanks to all the books we’ve read, movies we’ve watched and discussions we’ve had in the Humphrey Seminar, I found this leadership profile to come naturally. And I hope that as I move on from ASU, my leadership skills will blossom just as naturally.