As a leader of a specific country/nation/group, you might think that your leadership is limited to the country you reside in or narrowed to the cause you are fighting for. However, your leadership echoes past the doors of your surrounding, creating a ripple effect impact. Since we live in a world that is moving towards a more cosmopolitan place where we are not just citizens of our own country but citizens of the world, being a leader entails the responsibility of sharing this leadership not only in your country but to the world. In addition, this leadership shouldn’t be arrogant like Hitler’s leadership, one in which you want to change everything according to the ideas of your own country or that you become so full of yourself, your own history, and your people’s history that you think it is the only right view. Being a leader should demonstrate a sense of socio-political awareness, inclusive thought, gender equality advocate, environmental friendly approaches, etc.
Tips for being a leader:
-Be an advocate of human rights, especially those of marginalized, oppressed, and silenced groups;
-Recognize the vital role of women and preach inclusion of women and other genders in public and private spaces;
-Be inclusive of your surrounding and incorporate different perspectives when discussing issues;
-Have an intersectional look towards the world;
-Do not participate in perpetuating forms of injustice, racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia.;
-Recognize that every struggle is meaningful and that local and national struggles are related to global ones;
-Don’t be full of yourself;
-Admit your mistakes;
-Inspire and influence your surrounding with your vision;
-Take risks and do not be afraid of failure;
In our everyday life, people are influenced whether it is through words or actions. However, being a leader necessitates that you translate your words into actions, that you fulfill your verbal promises through advocating and implementing concrete action. Leadership means displaying awareness of human rights’, including women’s rights, violations in communities and actively opposing them through calling for change and reform and inviting collective action. Showing leadership entails having an intersectional look towards the world in a way that addresses all voices and needs of vulnerable communities all around the world.
Moreover, remember that leadership takes different forms. You do not need to be a president of a country, a politician, or a head of a political party to consider yourself a leader. You could be a writer, an artist, a musician, a dancer, or a teacher and still strive towards leadership in your own domain. Take, for example, the diverse body of writers who work at The Phoenix Daily, a national Lebanese independent newspaper. These writers are leaders; their writings deal with different socio-political topics such as the refugee crisis, the apartheid regime, national and international law violations, etc. They strive to expose matters of injustice and are not afraid to write the unwritable. These writers are leaders in the sense that they voice controversial yet crucial opinions that foster an intellectual revolution, one that is fundamental and much needed in today’s digital era; an era where books are being replaced by technology. These leaders influence their surroundings and challenge their readers by presenting them with different standpoints and alternative scenarios to various topics and situations.
Another main tenet of leadership is promoting diversity and recognizing that diversity does not eliminate uniqueness. Indeed, diversity brings new perspectives and encourages new voices to be heard and valued. As a leader, whether on a local or national level, it is important to be inclusive and representative of different racial and ethnic identities and backgrounds. For instance, Rotaract plays a huge role in maintaining these values and being inclusive of its society. Every member who joins the Rotaract community holds a sense of leadership within her/him and aspires at being part of an impactful cycle of change. As the Director of Community Service at Rotaract Club De Beyrouth, I believe that I am leading a committee of passionate leaders who are dedicated to finding solutions and implementing concrete actions that would impact people’s lives. These people define leadership in every sense of the term through their actions, such as operationalizing relief efforts through different channels, their ambitious mindset, their devoted aim to impact people’s lives, their emotional and social intelligence, and their strategic yet creative approach to Rotaract’s vision. They motivate and inspire me daily to grow and become the best version of myself, one that aims at shaking the world with impact and unique approaches when addressing key areas.
“I believe in the deepest depths of my being that compassion is the only human condition that can positively change the world because it is the strongest trait of humanity” says Sara El-Yafi, a Lebanese political and public policy expert. Compassion is caring in action. As such, leadership and compassion are correlated. Leaders who display compassion act in a way that empathize with the marginalized, oppressed, and silenced groups. They act in a way that aims at connecting people rather than dividing a world shared by more than seven billion people. They inspire their surrounding in a sense that instill in them values that will foster peaceful co-existence. Therefore, leadership is not only about taking action but also being aware of one’s position in the world, of one’s privileges, of power dynamics. Being a leader can also mean being vulnerable at certain moments and not being afraid to communicate this vulnerability.
You are a leader on a daily basis, in your personal and professional life. Your thoughts, words, and actions matter more than you think. Get up, be part of any meaningful action and create. Create an impact in a world filled with pain, hatred, and division. The world needs your leadership more than ever. And ask yourselves daily the following: “Am I part of this intellectual revolution? Am I representing and being inclusive of my surrounding? Am I providing any type of relief effort with my available resources? Am I part of any impactful cycle of change?”.
(Rotaract Club de Beyrouth, District 2452)