Young people of today are tomorrow’s leaders, but they are not often guided in how to actually become leaders. They are told again and again to start at the bottom, but then aren’t pushed to reach for the top.
This may lead to a significant shortage in true leaders soon, as well as burdening us with a generation on unambitious people. But young people can become true leaders if they are inspired to do so. Prime examples are Charles Phillips, Infor CEO and Nooyi of PepsciCo, master & mistress of their business respectfully.
How to become a successful leader
People like Phillips and Noovi were young once too. They knew what they wanted even from a young age and they went for it. They faced difficulties and overcame them. In so doing, they were able to come up with 15 things all young people should be aware of in order to become the leaders of tomorrow. Those 15 things are:
1. Facing challenges. Life isn’t easy, and anyone who gives up at the first hurdle will not get very far. Young people have to face extra challenges, as they will constantly be told that they can’t do it.
2. Being honest. Honesty is the best policy, and this is equally true in positions of leadership.
3. Winning trust. By being honest, trust is being won. It cannot simply be given but, rather, is something that grows over time.
4. Keeping calm. Leaders will face stress, and they will face it often. Only those who are able to truly keep calm, even under stress, will be tomorrow’s true leaders. Emotional responses also need to be avoided as much as possible, as this destroys trust.
5. Pursuing passions. Even if an idea fails, you have to pursue it if you feel passionate about it. That is the stuff inspiration is made of. Leaders are inspirational, so this is something to keep in mind.
6. Listening and observing. Innovation is built on ideas and ideas can come from everywhere. This means you have to listen to others. But you also should observe: sometimes people don’t want to come and talk to you.
7. Setting an example. It is impossible to lead people if the behaviors you exhibit yourself are a polar opposite. If you want people to arrive on time for meetings, don’t be late yourself.
8. Staying organized. An organized desk is a sign of an organized mind. You need be able to find things straight away and jump from one subject to another on a moment’s notice, after all.
9. Being fair. Fairness can be hard, but you cannot please everybody. Recognizing when someone has done something good is easy, but it is fair to mention it when someone has done something bad as well. And not giving in to demands, but remaining fair at all times, is equally hard.
10. Earning respect. This is done through all of the above.
11. Staying curious. Follow your curiosity and learn everything you can to be better
12. Being sympathetic. It pays to be supportive and encouraging.
13. Remembering what it is all for. Don’t forget the long term goal and your personal vision.
14. Not labeling people. Given other equal opportunities without stigmatisation goes a long way.
15. Understanding one’s self. You can be a better leader if you know your strengths and weaknesses.