By Jennifer Feehan (Economic Development Manager & NW PREP Coordinator, Northwest Commission)
Just put yourself out there and get the ball rolling. Leadership is a word I had previously kept my distance with thinking it was a status you achieve when you have it all together. Knowing that was a stretch for me, I’ve always just plugged away trying my best wherever I was placed.
It wasn’t until recently—being part of the Leadership Venango Program Class of 2021—that I came to the realization that my efforts in striving to serve others was a recognized form of leadership. I remember the moment it clicked during one of our sessions and was cognizant in seeing myself as a leader for the first time.
We are all leaders in some capacity and all have unique offerings to contribute, so we need to tap into our selfawareness and bring our piece of the puzzle to the table. Leading by example is the best place to start and will encourage others to take their step forward to get more involved. Some ways to lead by example include:
Communicate your message upfront. Keep it simple. Keep it straightforward. Deliver your words with authenticity. Aim to be transparent and genuine. Honesty builds trust which will strengthen your mission.
Listen to others intently. Strive to be compassionate and make a commitment to offer empathy. Extend respect and conduct yourself ethically. Remain vigilant of surroundings and proactive to mitigate misunderstandings. Extend forgiveness and do not make mountains out of molehills. Focusing on the positives will advance your vision.
Cultivate gratefulness and demonstrate appreciation. When a mistake is made, own it and make it right. Make efforts to be consistent, approachable, and reliable. Accountability will direct you in accomplishing your goal.
While there are many steps you can take to be a leader, being honest, kind, and humble can impact those around you each day. Best of luck on your leadership journey, and don’t forget you ARE a leader and have something to contribute.
This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) October 2021 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.