Last semester, I was elected to be the President of my beloved Pre-Law Professional Fraternity at USC.
This position, like any one of leadership, has meant a big time commitment, a large amount of responsibility, and a group of students counting on me to do my own job effectively, while successfully monitoring the jobs of others. All in all, it is not an easy position but is one which I have still managed to find joy in. It has taught me so much about working within a team and has forced me to take a look at my own skills and flaws.
Three main things have been revealed to me: being liked is important but it is not everything, be grateful for help because those people who offer could be your guardian angels, and perfection is often seen on the surface, even if you see the mistakes which formed it from underneath.
I have always been a people-pleaser. This has made some elements of Presidency challenging. I love doing things for other people, I love seeing the looks on their faces when they receive a gift, I love witnessing the enjoyment that comes from something I have done - no such thing as a selfless good deed, right?
I strive to be thoughtful and personal in my actions, which is easy when you care so much about the people you are acting for. However, some difficult decisions mean that you are not always liked, your choices scrutinized and criticized from intent to effect. These are the moments that I hate as I sometimes must upset the minority for the benefit of the majority, or even upset the majority for the future of the organization. I have now learned that this is a basic part of my job, and crucial to effective and forward-thinking leadership skills.
As President, I have a dedicated team at my side - most of whom were once merely friends but are now people I have to rely on professionally. I have had to accept that sometimes, it will be my responsibility to pick up the slack regarding half-done jobs or detrimental mistakes. But I have also had to accept that I have to trust others to do the same for me.
This is a delicate balance which I have had to find for myself and for my interaction with others. I have had to draw a line which dictates how much extra responsibility I am willing to take on without the recognition that comes from various tasks.
On the other end of the spectrum, I have had to decide when to trust the abilities of others to execute their jobs without interference. Those who I have come to trust have become my guardian angels, my shining beacons of hope on days when I simply cannot take on any more.
Finally, I have had to recognize that my own need for seamless perfection is not always recognized by others, that the outcome of a project or an event is seen as a whole, and not as the middle of parts by which it was made up.
Therefore, by the end of the day, when I am bruised and battered, exhausted and quite frankly, without my usual sunny disposition, not everyone is going to understand why. This is when leadership skills really play into my job: the understanding and acceptance that the positive effects of my actions, my organization, my time commitment, my sleepless nights, are far more important than what people think of me.
My success as a leader can be measured by my ability to continue to work for the greater good of my community while remaining intact and happy with the experience.