Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Contributing as a Leader (Nicole Wilken)

As we are making decisions in SALT, I struggle slightly with how to define my role. As a leader, I have to make some decisions without any other feedback, so I look forward to the times when the passionate people of SALT can chime in on the issues. But in this role, I think it is important to remind myself that although I need to facilitate conversations for the whole group, I still need to be a contributing member of the decision-making process. Though I trust the rest of the group to make the right decisions even without my input, I personally am invested in the organization enough where I still want to be a part of the conversation and feel like my views are being represented. This brings up the struggle that leaders often face: is it okay to make sure my opinions are being heard in the organization? My answer is yes.

For instance, one thing that I struggled with as a freshman was how to interpret and judge the World Relief Campaign Applications when I had never been part of the selection process before. In making these decisions, new members have a difficult time making judgments with as much confidence as the returning members. Last Tuesday, we began our selection process for the WRC, narrowing it down from 14 applications to 4 finalists. To facilitate this process, I made a list of questions that SALTers can use to judge the WRC applications. However, I was still nervous about sharing my opinions about particular project proposals and being too involved in the process. What I realized on Tuesday was that to be the best leader I can be, I need to show others how I think about certain issues and how I personally come to my conclusions. In this way, I can be an example to them and empower them to make their own judgments, even if they are different than mine.

As a leader, my role is to empower people to be part of the process. As a facilitator, my role is to listen to people’s needs and make sure their views are being represented. And as a mentor, my role is to make sure that I continue to contribute and make my voice heard.

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