I recently was featured in our campus newspaper. Below is the interview questions asking about my perceptions of leadership and what it takes to be a great leader.
Courier: If you had to explain leadership to someone who had never heard the term, what would you say?
Jake: Leadership is an interactive process. It comes from an influence relationship between leaders and followers who intend to make real change that reflects their mutual goals. I’d say a heck of a lot more than that, but I’m assuming I don’t have a full page to go full leadership machine here.
Courier: For a beginner wanting to enhance their leadership skills, what would you recommend?
Jake: First things first, you have to think about your own philosophy of leadership. Next, think about the skills you currently possess. What might need to improve and what is an area that you feel is the strongest? I love talking leadership, so stop by my office to participate in some leadership coaching!
Courier: What would you say are the 5 essential traits of a good leader?
a. Self – Awareness: being able to identify your interests, skills, values and beliefs, but also being able to identify and manage your emotions. You have to be able to lead yourself before leading a group.
b. Relationship Management: Once you have a grip on being self-aware, the next step is getting to know your team, your classmates, family, and friends. On one hand, it’s good to do so in order to identify your own resources, but if you’re working with others it’s good to know how the people around you are motivated and how you can support them.
c. Problem Solver: You have to be able to think critically about and reflect on all factors associated with challenges that you face both personally and professionally.
d. Adaptability and Resilience: Putting in bluntly, sometimes being a leader is hard. Things suck. Using your critical thinking skills, if you do it right, you can build some adaptability into your work and be ready to make adjustments to your plan as you go. Embrace the yuck!
e. Access your ignorance: Leaders aren’t supposed to have all the answers or do things completely alone. Great leaders have humility knowing that they don’t have all the answers, the courage to admit that to others, and the wisdom to seek answers within and outside their team.
Courier: How can a student practice leadership in their everyday life?
Jake: Don’t strive to build a freakishly long resume by joining everything on campus. All that will do is cause you a lot of sleepless nights and stress. Instead, start slow, find the things you are interested in doing on campus. Find your team (aka the people who will help keep you accountable) and your crew (the people who you can turn to for support). Challenge yourself, and when appropriate, challenge others. Listen to the stories of others and reflect on your own. Have fun.