As leadership guru John Maxwell best puts it, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” It is that important it can either make or break a person, a company, or even a nation.
No wonder people often associate leadership with presidents, company executives, business tycoons, or one of those gents in a bespoke suit speaking on stage. But while those are true, there are also people who don’t come to mind as often: people who choose to break the mold and carve their own paths to leadership—mainly the strong, independent people who are ambitious enough to influence people not to settle for the ordinary. In today’s lingo, a girl boss to be exact (read: don’t worry, boys are welcome too!).
If you’re a student leader or wants to become one, we hope these girl bosses can help you learn a few leadership lessons up their sleeve:
Marie Kondo: Create a culture that sparks joy.
People follow leaders, good and bad, but what makes them stay is leadership. Whether it’s a group project with five students or an org with fifty members, leading your team starts with making it feel like one—a team.
Take it from Japanese organizing consultant a.k.a tidying guru Marie Kondo: choose joy. Create a culture that sparks joy. Create a culture that brings a crazy different bunch of personalities together in synergy, a culture that makes the seemingly impossible-to-finish thesis possible. And you, as a leader, can make it happen!
Leading a class report or a student council may not include folding t-shirts in tiny rectangles, but it can be you tidying up things- big and small- that affect your team.
Like houses that feel like a home, be the kind of leader that makes a group feel like a team. After all, Marie did say that “life begins after you have put your house in order.” So does your team.
Heart Evangelista: Treat mistakes as opportunities for growth.
Being a student leader is hard. And it goes without saying the pressure that comes with eyes anticipating your every move… or mistake. No wonder most, if not all, leaders are afraid to fail.
When everything you do is magnified thousand times over, what do you when you commit bloopers along the way? We suggest learning from Heart Evangelista a.k.a. the girl who handpaints crazy expensive bags in style… and totally by accident too!
Don’t be mistaken. This showbiz sweetheart is no longer just an actress, but an accomplished painter who had sold-out art exhibits locally and abroad. This wouldn’t have happened should she have chosen to throw a pity party over a stained bag and every mistake she ever had.
As a student leader, don’t be afraid to make mistakes—big and small. Every time you slip along, get up to your feet and pick up a lesson or two! Remember, being a leader doesn’t make you perfect. In the same way, not being perfect doesn’t make you less of a leader.
Hidilyn Diaz: Do the heavylifting.
Does being a leader mean you have to do all the work? Get the heaviest load in a group project? Do all the talking in reports? Of course… not. But you do have to take the first step, and do the heavy lifting your teammates can follow! And by that, we mean setting an example for what can be done and what should be done. Even when everyone says it’s too impossible to happen!
For over 20 years, the Philippines hasn’t had an Olympic medal until Hidilyn Diaz came and lifted that barbell. And as if it wasn’t enough to leave us in awe, this proud Zamboangueña is also the first Filipina athlete to do so. Talk about girl power!
Her win didn’t just give our country pride with all the medals she brought home, she also gave hope to our countrymen who want to follow her footsteps—especially the young girls who are often told they can’t do things just because.
As a student leader, you have the same privilege to break barriers, empower people, and fill your team with hope. Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be worth it? Definitely.
Maria Ressa: Stand firm on your convictions.
Leaders are defined by the convictions they hold. What are yours? Leading people isn’t as easy as speaking in front and expecting everyone to agree. There are times when your ideas will be met with nods of disapproval, times when your values and principles will be tested. Know that it’s okay! What better way than facing those challenges headstrong, yes? Maria Ressa did.
While not everyone will appeal to court cases like her, it’s always good to be reminded of the convictions you hold, especially when the going gets tough. Maria, a respected journalist and Rappler’s CEO, stood her ground amidst the threats she’s receiving day in and day out. How are you when the pressure comes along? Being a leader is no easy feat, but having strong convictions anchors you as you lead the team forward.
Michelle Obama: Lead where you are.
As amazing as leadership can be, let’s get this straight: you don’t need a position to be a leader. If you do have a platform, that’s great! Make the best use of it. But you should know too that not having one doesn’t disqualify you to make an impact in the things around you. In fact, there’s no other place to lead than where you are now, with or without a title. For one, Michelle Obama did exactly that!
Being the first African-American First Lady of the United States, she didn’t just wait for Barack to give her “first lady” duties. She went right ahead and did her own thing—serving in soup kitchens, empowering girls in schools, or being a mom to her two daughters at home. It all counts!
Now that she’s a certified bestselling author, Michelle still continues to do the work she started even long after she’s moved out of the White House. Armed with stories to tell and filled with a mission to inspire people to do the same, she leads and people follow.
How about you? You don’t have to be the class representative or the student council president to make a difference. Your story is your platform. Lead with the truth that only you can do the things that you can do the way you only know how. And people need leaders like you who will not wait for a second call to serve—even as young as you are.
Want to know more ways on how you can maximize your leadership potential? Embrace the student leader that you are! Check out more tips and advice in the All Girls Corner blog section at Edukasyon.ph now!