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Lead from within

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Lead from within is an advice I can render to all people from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter the sector or industry. As a Professor of Global Affairs and Owner of a consulting firm that focuses on leadership development and organizational management; one thing I know for sure is that to be an effective leader, you have to lead yourself first. The life you live is the example of how well you can lead others or lead an institution. You cannot be an effective leader if you have not effectively led yourself.

It is true that to be a leader it does not require accolades, position or degrees…leadership deals with how well you can serve and how great your emotional IQ is. It deals with how good of a communicator you are, how well you put the needs of others before yourself, your ability to communicate your vision and strategize on how to implement it, it deals with empathy and understanding…things a degree and a corner office won’t give you. We have somehow missed the mark of leadership. Everyone is obsessed with leading but not understanding the fundamentals of what makes a true leader. Some Politicians are concerned with the benefits of the position and not understanding that the benefits should be miniscule in comparison to what the position offers to others. And this can be applied across all sectors.

There is one questions that you should yourself, “How do people experience me?” When people walk away from you, how do they feel? We need to take more time to truly understand our impact on others. As leaders, it is your responsibility to ensure that when people leave your presence, they leave empowered. What does it mean to empower someone? It means to make someone stronger, more confident and to give them the power to be in control of their lives and their decisions.

Its important to be reflective on how your decisions, words and actions have effect on people. That’s what it means to lead from within. Its an internal process of self –leadership. It’s the grooming stage and grooming process before your debut. A great leader is conscious about their actions, decisions and words. An effective leader thinks about how people experience them. Leadership is connected to everything. As a Professor, I teach courses on Global Issues, Comparative Politics, American Foreign Relations and African Government and Politics and one of the common threads when it comes to many of the injustices about world have to do with leaders who are not concerned about how people experience them. And most importantly have missed the mark about what true leadership is.

Leadership is not something that happens overnight. There is a process to leadership. That’s something I tell especially to young women who receive leadership training from my philanthropic initiative Young Woman’s Guide. The process starts with leading oneself. Being in a state of preparation, making ethical decisions in one’s own life, making the best decisions (personally, professionally and academically) to prepare yourself for greatness. Leading from within and focusing on your impact on others will prepare you to be an effective and empathetic leader where your presence will truly make a difference.

• Yetunde A. Odugbesan-Omede, Ph.D is a Professor of Global Affairs and Political Sciences at Adelphi University and Farmingdale State College. Her areas of expertise are in Global Ethics, Good Governance, Leadership and Human Capital Management. She is the Author of Young Woman’s Guide and Founder of the organization, Young Woman’s Guide. She is the CEO of Yetunde Global Consulting, a leading Management consulting firm specializing in leadership development and training, organisational management and global business strategies. She is a powerhouse consultant, author, educator and philanthropist. Read more about her work at www.dryetunde.com.



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