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On Leadership

I am also interested in Leadership but there are so many academic ways to do this. Which degree is the most valuable? #womeninleadership, #leadership


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Catherine’s Answer

Hi Grace. To start, I am happy to see you are striving to be a leader in your field. I do think it is important to think about what it means to be a leader. You have that ability, no matter what career path you take, to be a recognized leader. Every organization, role, team, industry, etc. needs strong leaders. My suggestion is to pursue what you are most passionate about. If you then build your industry specific skills, your confidence and career growth will fall in line. To be a leader in your organization, you can use this confidence in combination with your skills and experience to motivate and bring value to your teams and your organization as a whole. As you progress in your career, you can move into more targeted leadership roles, but to get to that point you want to aim to be a leader in any role. Leadership comes in all shapes and sizes and anyone can strive to grow as a leaders. Start by working to motivate and assist your colleagues and team members, find opportunities to step out of your job description and provide feedback and value across your organization, maintain a positive attitude under stress, and speak with confidence and clear communication.

Catherine recommends the following next steps:

Find what your are most passionate about within your job and take time to understand internally why you have that passion.
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Find ways to engage with your teams and organization outside of your job description. This may be as simple as always injecting positive notes with any constructive feedback and being dependable to build trusting relationships with your colleagues.
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Sean’s Answer

Grace, this is such a good question! From an academic standpoint there are numerous sources to gain knowledge on the matter. As a suggestion, I would recommend you read Simon Sinek's book "Leaders Eat Last." It's a really good read and one of the fundamental concepts presented is that our brains and the chemicals we produce to drive our decisions involve; having a need for food and having a need for a safe environment. Clearly, we don't have to hunt and gather anymore, but we still have chemical drivers to improve, advance, help others, and excel. We want to do these things in a comfortable environment where we feel valued and safe. As a leader you must understand these needs and balance them along with performance. Simon draws light to The United States Marine Corps practice that Marines line up by rank, lowest to highest, when it's time to eat. To the junior troops it shows their leaders put their needs above their own. For me, this had a powerful impact, as I experienced the gesture while serving in the USMC for 6 years. As a junior Marine I ate first, and as I advanced my Marines' needs came before my own. Please remember, that no matter how much you study leadership and understand the principals behind leading, experience and practical application are the greatest drivers. Start leading now! Motivate and inspire your peers. Influence those that are above you, and don't let your failures discourage you, Once again, I'm so glad you brought this up. Please take this information along with the other recommendations and apply them to do good things!


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Tammy’s Answer

First ask yourself "WHY" you want to become a leader. Being a leader of any sort, you have to have good organizational skills, be able to coordinate and delegate, be a problem solver, a critical thinker and a motivator. I have taken classes in business management and different things, and the most effective and useful learning that I have been able to put to use in my current management position is organizational development. I am currently getting a BA in Psychology with a minor in Organizational Development and I'm almost finished, but I am going to go on and get my Master's in Organizational Development because it has been so rewarding and so useful and will open up many opportunities for me. I personally don't feel that there is any one most valuable degree, so first consider what kind of leader you are wanting to be and what you expect to get out of it and then look at your best options.


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Robin’s Answer

Hi, Grace - what a great question! Leaders are needed in every walk of life, so as others have said here, there isn't one set way or degree to pursue. Any organizational leadership course of quality will likely cover the "why" behind effective leadership as well as some of the "how." After that, it is about practice. You might enjoy the book The Leadership Challenge as one way of looking at best leadership practices. I'm also currently reading How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith and highly recommend it! Best of luck, Robin


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Margaret’s Answer

Leadership is something that will help you excel in any path of life you choose. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will encounter many leaders. Some of these people may have been born with these skills and excelled as they continued their careers. Others may have strived to be a leader and worked toward becoming one in their profession, relationships, and day to day life. I am an accountant, and some may not think that this requires leaders, but you would be pleasantly surprised to find I encounter many different leaders every day.


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Noah’s Answer

Hi Grace. We need more women leaders in every industry. No matter which field you end up pursuing, you can become a leader and a woman of influence. I would recommend taking classes or reading on your own about organizational leadership , disruptive leadership and how to influence change. Those are some key attributes to a well loved leader. It sounds like you're in the right headspace. Keep on that track and you'll realize your potential is limitless. Good luck , Grace!

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Stephanie’s Answer

Hi Grace! What a great aspiration to have to lead and serve others! First, find what you enjoy-art, music, math, science, etc. I have a Bachelor degree in Psychology and Criminology and am currently in leadership at a technology company. Leader translates to any field. I just saw a great presentation from Carey D. Lohrenz who was the US Navy’s first female F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot and it was so inspiring. Seek out inspiring leaders and learn from them.


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Jason’s Answer

Hi Grace - It’s difficult to learn leadership from any type of degree program. Those programs can certainly give you some knowledge and hard skills that can be utilized out in the field but showing leadership involves much more than demonstrating subject matter expertise.

If you are looking to build leadership skills then my advice is to get involved in projects where you can gain exposure to people and ideas that you may not already know much about. As time goes by, you will be able to lead your own projects and people will naturally follow your direction due to your strong track record in getting things done. Leadership is earned over time through your achievements so focus on providing value to your organization.


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