Leadership is a Choice: Lessons from My Students

I’m grateful to be reminded by my students constantly that if you put your heart to whatever you do, we will make it there somehow. Today’s story is about a student whom I shall call him H. I visited H nearing the end of his internship and we spent a good half hour catching up with each other, as I tried to find out more about his internship experience. Apparently, he was offered a contract for extension of his services. Two to be exact, one from the company which he was attached to, and the other was with company’s customer.

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When I first met H a few months ago, he started off saying that he do not wished to go for internship. After all, he was an entrepreneur himself with employees under his charge at his disposal. But this is what the school requires all students to go through: an internship opportunity before he can graduate with a diploma.

I also remembered suggesting to H that he could treat it as an opportunity to experience what it was like being an employee, so that when he go back to his company, he can become an even better boss, a boss that understood what his employees had to go through and their difficulties. He returned two hours to my office after that short meetup then saying that he will do it.

And he did.

And in a manner which I least expected.

From the half-hour chat I had with him, I got to understand that he was handling customer relationship and doing operational planning during that attachment, which was strange, because important tasks like those were usually taken up by the permanent staff of the company. In the midst, two other interns from another vocational institute was also “placed under his charge”, which makes it a very strange relationship.

In H’s own company, H is the boss and naturally has the authority to give orders to his employees. As an intern however, that sort of authority to give orders would not be implicit. He has to win the respect of those two other interns. It is even weirder that eventually, the permanent staff was sort of “under his charge” as well. The project he was handling move forward in good pace. Relationship with his colleagues were strong.

To the best of my understanding, H didn’t put himself into the position he is in right now. It sort of crept to him. Frankly speaking, I do not think I can pull off a hat trick like what he did when I’m a student myself.

“Leadership is a choice, not a position”

~ Stephen R Covey ~

I think we all have some form of leadership in us somewhere. Whether we would like to exercise, practise and refine makes the difference.H chose to make that difference.

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To end off, I thought I will share a TED video about a similar topic. Please see below~

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