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Friday, April 14, 2017

How to Become a Leader (Even If You're Quiet)

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Wellesley College and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. 

Growing up, I never thought of myself as being a leader. I always assumed that leaders were confident, talkative, and powerful people and those qualities I just didn't have. I'm the type of person that usually stays quiet and prefers to absorb information during class discussions, gets intimidated by large groups (talk to me one-on-one though and I'm awesome!), and did I mention my public speaking fears? Yup, not exactly leader material. I always preferred working behind the scenes and letting someone else have the spotlight. Yet I always supported leaders, especially other women, who could bravely handle any situation that comes their way and still have a smile on their face and stay positive. Secretly, I wanted to be just like them but I didn't think I had it in me. It took years of growing mentally and putting myself out of my comfort zone (and not always getting great results) but eventually I was able to become a leader. Even though I'm sometimes considered to be a "quiet" person. Here's how:

You Need to Be a Good Listener 
Listening is seriously underrated yet it's one of the best skills that a quiet women already has and can be successful if it's used right. Take the time to listen to each of your peers and not only understand where they're coming from but to understand their character as well and to have empathy. 

Be Decisive 
What's the difference between a good leader and a bad one? The bad ones are controlling while the good ones are decisive. It's all about knowing when it's time to stop brainstorming and make a decision. This was actually the way that I realized that I could be a leader because I took the time to see a situation in all angles and actually spoke up and made a decision and proved with confidence why it could work. Trust me, groups can go on and on when it comes to trying to make a decision so if you have a feeling that you know which decision is the best, speak up or else the brainstorming won't end for a while! 

Do Some Research 
If you want to become great, then you're gonna have to study people who are greater which means spending some time on the Internet reading about your favorite female leaders (I recommend Forbes or Fast Company!) or even...dare I say it? Reading their books!? Yup, a lot of powerful leaders have great books which will help you to get inspired but to also realize that people never had an easy start and that the whole process takes a while. 

Be Your True Self 
This one's tough. But as the saying goes "you can't influence the world by trying to be like it." People tend to follow and naturally are drawn to people that are doing something different. I noticed this when I started blogging and talking about my experiences with professors and  my peers and people began to value my opinions in the social media field. It was completely done naturally and all I had to do was be myself! I don't think I ever would've become a leader if I kept blogging to myself (which I think many bloggers do in order to not be judged! Been there.) but I'm glad I showed people who I really am. 

Wellesley College's Women's Contemporary Leadership Program 
I recently found out about this opportunity and wish that I could take advantage! My college doesn't offer any programs or classes on leadership especially on leadership involving women which I think is an area that is never talked about enough and if you look at workplaces, there's just not enough female leaders and that definitely needs to change. The five week program is for sophomores, juniors, and seniors and takes place at Wellesley College which is the #1 ranked women's college. You'll take two female leadership courses which will be for college credit, live on campus in residence halls, visit a Boston-area corporation to learn about women's leadership skills, and work on an experiential project. Also, you'll live in Boston aka one of the best cities in the country! Feel free to apply here

Overall, leadership is a skill that can be learned and there's no such thing as a "natural leader". It takes years to get it right which means that a lot of mistakes are going to be made but that's just all a part of the process! We need more women in leadership positions and you can be a part of that change so my best advice is to stay resilient and learn and put leadership to practice as much as you can.

Thanks for reading,


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