Are leaders born or made?

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If you think of leaders you probably think of company CEOs, political leaders, activists and the like. However, leadership skills are so much more and can open new doors throughout your own career even if you are not planning on becoming the next president.

Developing your leadership skills may benefit you in many different ways. Have you ever thought about running your own business, or doing something about a situation in society, government or the work force that needs to be changed? Would you like to articulate your view of point better or get more promotions in your future career?

If any of the above points are on your horizon, exploring and developing your leadership skills is the best way forward.
At Western, one way in which you can develop your leadership skills is by joining the LEAD program, funded by the student services and amenities fee (SSAF).

The LEAD program provides aspiring student leaders with an opportunity to build leadership capacity, confidence and interpersonal communication skills. The program includes the Western leadership conference on the 29th of April this year, interactive face-to-face workshops, online modules, external conferences, activities and events.

You will network with business professionals and leaders, like-minded peers, subject matter experts from Western, and connect to students and professionals from local and interstate universities. In 2018, two LEAD students went to Queensland to participate in a student leadership conference at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

Former LEAD student Pallavi Verma said: “In April 2018, I got an opportunity to attend the QUT conference as a Western Sydney University LEAD delegate. In one of the activities in this workshop, students were asked to think of a scenario from their daily routine where they apply leadership skills.

“This activity made me realise that leadership is not a skill that can be implemented only on some occasions – like only at work or university. In fact, leadership is something that we implement in our daily lives.”

Kieren Cranfield, who also attended the conference said, “We got to hear from some wonderful keynote speakers as well as lots of opportunities to break out into smaller groups for workshops and networking opportunities.

“I felt really privileged to be able to attend this conference. It was great to be able to push myself out of my comfort zone to meet new people, and network with other young people who want to develop and improve their leadership skills.”

LEAD is about empowering aspiring leaders to find their path, but also to empower others along the way. Kieren notes, “I think one of the big take-home messages for me was that leadership is unique. There are different stages – and there are also different types of success. There is external success such as awards and promotions, and internal success such as self-satisfaction.”

Nowadays, leadership skills include anything from active listening, clear communication skills and an inclusive mindset, to (emotional) resilience, influencing and negotiation skills.

Reflecting back on key learnings, Kieren added: “Regardless of where you are in your leadership journey, step out of your comfort zone and start applying what you already know. Surround yourself with those ‘keepers’ who are going to keep you stretching to reach your goals, and be proud of every step along your journey.”

Interested in discovering more about LEAD or ready to start the program?
Simply visit westernsydney.edu.au/lead for more information.

LEAD program graduate Pallavi Verma.

LEAD program team

Lead, Engage, Aspire, Develop (LEAD) is a free leadership program, which gives aspiring student leaders…

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