Nearing the end of my high school career, I’ve encountered various types of people and personalities— some admirable and others quirky.
However, above all characteristics I’ve seen so far, one stood out from the rest: leadership.
It is a skill. And like any skill, it is not innate. Rather, it must be learned through experience.
From my experiences thus far and from the wisdom of countless role models, I have heard time and again of the paramount importance of leadership.
I used to ask myself, why should I become a leader? Isn’t it enough that I work hard?
And while the importance of hard work is demanded of everyone in every situation to a certain degree, it will take more than a sentence to explain the relevance of leadership.
Leadership in a sense is the ability to distinguish oneself in such a way as to effectively bring together the skills of everyone in a group to achieve a positive purpose. It may not seem significant at a high school level, but in the larger world, effective leaders are few and far between.
When seeking a job, you must realize that many companies are beginning to look past academic performance and towards your leadership qualities; if you are ill equipped to lead a company forward, it is likely that you will become a liability to the company.
This may lead to you not getting your dream position or job, or even in the best case scenario not getting promoted.
Effective leadership qualities include the ability to solve problems. Recently, due to my interest in technology companies, I’ve been looking up interview questions by Google, which include some of the most bizarre questions: design an evacuation plan for the city of San Francisco; what changes would you make in your current school; describe cloud computing to a five-year-old.
Of course, the interviewers don’t honestly care about the answers of these questions, rather they focus more on how they are answered to determine the problem solving abilities of the interviewees.
Do the answers demonstrate effective, unique, or lateral thinking?
In addition, the mere task of being interviewed demands the most basic of leadership qualities: communication.
Whether it be to convey or to convince others of your ideas, communication plays a pivotal role in any environment; you can’t lead if people don’t understand your intentions.
One incentive for pursuing leadership skills is the prospect of employment; those who demonstrate effective leadership qualities are given preference by employers as leaders can progress a company forward.
For those interested in improving their leadership abilities, there are many leadership opportunities lying around unnoticed that you can take advantage of.
Taking a lead during group projects is a minor example of exercising initiative and leadership skills. Many high schools also have student governments (councils) which organizes school activities and offer a exceptional opportunity to learn and to improve leadership qualities on the job.
Moreover, participating in a combination of school clubs, community volunteer jobs, and sports teams all offer a range of perspectives into the many ways of leading.
It is important to remember that there is never a single best method to leading and that the more perspectives and experience one has with the skill, there more prepared he or she is when entering into the larger world.
David Wang is a student at Garibaldi secondary.