My view of what it means to be a “leader” has drastically evolved over the course of my internship.
Prior to this experience, I often viewed leaders in a much narrower lens. For example, my perception of a leader was often someone who was at the top of their respective field or interest. You often see, whether its in the news or even listening to a brief introduction of a coming speaker or lecturer, that someone or some company is a leader in “X,” and because of this, we should now trust their coming opinion or advice.
While this does hold true for most instances, leaders are not limited to that role of the “instructor.” Through my internship, I have been exposed to many different kinds of leaders. Some are leaders in the field of statistics and analysis, some are and were leaders in their respective military careers, while others were leaders in campaigns and fundraising. However, through getting to hear from each leader, I learned that they all had something to learn from each other as well – and most of them were willing to put aside that role of a “leader” in order to do so.
Being a leader takes more than just instructing and guiding others in what to do. It also means taking a step back and listening more to others of different backgrounds and experiences in order to grow not just yourself, but those who often look up to you.
Throughout my internship, I have had the privilege of seeing many different leaders exhibit a strong willingness to learn and grow, and I hope to carry this expanded view of a “leader” forward with me to wherever my life and career takes me next.