I have always believed that one of the best school for developing leadership traits especially in the corporate world is surprisingly in an area which is far removed from the corporate sector — the non-profit sector.
It is not very easy to be successful there, but it provides a great opportunity to develop one’s inner compass– something that stays for a long time. My own apprenticeship came about with my stints at a drug rehabilitation counseling centre and at another counseling centre dealing with people suffering from mental distress. It was here that I learnt the art of empathetic listening, re-framing issues, being able to focus on the short term keeping a long term plan in mind and more importantly the passion to make a difference in the lives of others. All these have always served me well in the corporate world.
Hence I am really happy that companies like GE, Google and Deloitte are hiring people from Teach for America (TFA). I am happy that Business Week published this amazing story of Wendy Kopp (the founder of TFA) and a lot of what has been written in that piece resonates with me very strongly. The last line in the piece: “Vision creates energy and energy creates charisma– an essential ingredient to successful leadership communications” sums it all very well.
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