How to harness your skills to become a leader of tomorrow
September 8, 2023

How to harness your skills to become a leader of tomorrow

In April, Young European Ambassadors from both the Eastern Partnership and the EU and UK participated in the 3rd European Forum of Young Leaders in Katowice, Poland. It was a brilliant opportunity for us to reflect on what it means to be a young leader, as well as what skills are essential in maintaining effective leadership and social engagement. 

Becoming socially active can be really fun as you can learn and improve a lot of new skills and meet many interesting people. However, it can sometimes be hard to motivate yourself and others towards social engagement. So how can you get people involved in social engagement activities and how can you start a campaign? We will give you tips from experts working in the sector of social engagement and leadership, on what your general competencies should be, like being inclusive, but also more practical advice on what will help you to successfully start and improve your campaign. In the second part we will tell you what is important when you are leading people. Of course, we will also cover how you can get others involved and provide crucial advice for your well-being and self-improvement.  

How can we mobilise young people for action? 

If you’ve ever led a team of volunteers you’ll most likely have encountered difficult situations in which people were not motivated enough. It’s essential to be inclusive in allowing everyone to participate, and ensure that all your fellow volunteers contribute their ideas to the project to avoid situations where participants may feel left out. This is important in ensuring that participants feel they are an active part of the team and in encouraging the fruitful development of ideas, all of which will allow you to mobilise young people successfully. 

When planning a campaign or any other project, it is very important to know your target group. Do you want to reach young students or an older group of people? If you want to reach young people, focusing on social media for public relations might make more sense than writing articles for newspapers. Apart from these basic points, there are some additional tips that will help you to successfully start a campaign. 

Even though Zoom calls are good and sometimes the only opportunity to reach people in different countries when hosting an event, local events represent a great opportunity to interact with people on a much more personal level. When planning an event, it can also be helpful to set them on related international days as you can use the international attention for your project on these days. Obviously, make sure the international days fit the topic you want to raise attention for. For example, if you want to raise awareness on the challenges faced by women globally, you can hold your event in the run up to International Women’s Day!

How can you be an effective leader in social initiatives?

The Forum featured a range of insightful panels on community engagement and leadership, and how young people fare in today’s job market. However, the dialogue zone that caught our eye the most explored the various facets of social engagement, from how to mobilise young people, to how to be an effective leader.

When speaking of effective leadership and social initiatives, the first thing that comes to mind is the Young European Ambassadors initiative. Young people within our network believe in European integration and understand Europe’s cooperation with the Eastern Partnership. Young people who lead and unite around a common goal are the engines of our future. What is the role of leadership here, you may ask?

  1. First and foremost, leadership is built on trust and community – these are the guarantors of safety. We want to feel protected and supported, among like-minded people. People need to know why they are with you. They want to contribute, and will devote time and effort if there is trust. The best advice here is to communicate and to practise articulating your values. Ask yourself three questions: “why?”, “how?”, “what?” Leaders always start with “why?” as it allows us to communicate why we are fighting for our common values.
  2. Courage. The courage to lead and create a vision of a future that doesn’t yet exist. Always have courage to challenge yourself. You should be ready to have the capacity to do anything. A good tip here is to create a strategy, because this is the best way to achieve your goal and lead people. As Simon Sinek once said: “We are the finite players in the infinite game of life. We come and go, we are born and we die, and life still continues with or without us.” Leaders need to create a community, form the best version of themselves and help people around them to become better. 
  3. Responsibility. Leadership is a one-way ticket.  You can’t take a break from leadership. You have to take responsibility for your initiatives, people, workload, and consequences. In fact, you do not belong to yourself. But you need to remember that you are responsible not to do harm. Think about the people you want to help. Responsible leadership is a doorway to new challenges, opportunities, and awareness. For example, Ukrainian youth were ready to take responsibility and united people around various initiatives.

Become a leader of tomorrow!  

The youth of today are not only a resource, but they have immense potential. Young people are the engine that pushes entire generations forward. They are the ones who harness leadership and drive projects that change the whole world. 

However, always remember that in order to be an effective leader and to drive meaningful social engagement, you need to take care of yourself. It’s easy to lose yourself in the fast-paced world of leadership, so do remember to take regular breaks and to ensure you’re practising self care, whether that’s maintaining good levels of hydration and sustenance, and continuing to be engaged with your hobbies and interests. Without taking care of yourself, you cannot lead and take care of others. 

And remember – a leader is not born overnight. Keep developing your leadership and social engagement skills and know that mistakes are an important part of the process. Make sure you reflect and learn from them. 

As you continue to master these skills, we have no doubt that you will flourish as a leader, and we cannot wait to see how you unite like minded people in the search of a common good. Best of luck!

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