In this series, personal coach / trainer & owner of In2MotivationPeter Koijen talks about how internationals in the Netherlands can make their time at work more enjoyable: from leadership and motivation tips to increasing work pleasure and to altering your mindset in an ever-changing work environment.
A great example of leadership
If you search "leadership lessons from a dancing guy" on YouTube, you get to see a great example of leadership (see below).
Leadership equals following! It is the first follower that makes a leader. Not a lone nut, but a crazy bunch of nuts.
But how will you get the first follower? Let me first share a metaphor that I often use in company trainings.
The story of Pablo
Pablo is a 10 year old boy who lives in a beautiful village high up in the mountains where the colours are bright, the birds are singing, and the average temperature is about 35 to 40 degrees.
Pablo is just recovering from a disease that made all of his hair fall out. He had gone completely bald but still had to go to school, so his parents gave him a fur cap to cover his head. Apparently, wearing that cap in 40 degree heat wasn’t a nice experience.
When he arrived at school, Pablo experienced the reactions that he had feared. The other kids didn’t know how to properly respond, so they started bullying him. They called him names and stole his cap.
Pablo had the worst day of his life and, as expected, he begged his parents not to go to school again. His parents, though, tried to motivate him:
› "Pablo, you have the genes of your grandfather who was a very brave man," his mother told him.
› "Boys don’t cry. Cheer up and it will be over soon," his father said.
But Pablo wasn’t really convinced.
After three days of bullying something unexpected happened. The teacher entered the classroom wearing a fur cap and when she removed it, all the kids were silent: she had shaved her head!
The next day, two children had shaved their heads and by the end of the week almost all of them had done the same.
And from that moment, it was safe for Pablo to be who he really was, to be part of the group again. It was a lesson that he will remember forever!
Leading & Following
Leading and following is a natural human reaction / behaviour. People tend to follow each other to feel connected even when they are not aware of it.
So what can you take from this metaphor as a leader? And by a leader, I mean everyone acting as a leader (parent, friend, colleague, manager or any other role you play in life).
To practice your leadership skills, I’d like to share three important notes:
› A leader should have the ability to follow
Follow the emotions and feelings of someone else. Be able to follow the rhythm before you initiate a new direction. You can follow others non-verbally, verbally or in the way they express themselves. Remember that the best way to build a connection with someone is to first follow them.
› You need positive reference experience
One way of doing this is to give and receive appreciation. Even a simple compliment can be sufficient. Learn how to receive it so people can feel open to give you more.
› Leave the past behind
Everything that happened in the past should be a good lesson and nothing more. Start thinking about the future to create new possibilities.
Leaders express their own vision and rest assured: there are always people to follow your lead when you respect theirs. Out of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.
Leadership is overrated, it is the first follower that will lead the crowd and is going to be respected as the informal leader. In a society and working environment it is becoming more and more about informal leadership.
And when you lead by following, you will be able to achieve great things for yourself and others.
In2Motivation is an international personal development training and coaching company run by Peter Koijen. For more information on introduction workshops and international NLP training courses in Amsterdam, please visit the website or send an email.
Though writing an essay for a scholarship application can be a daunting task, think of it as an opportunity to showcase your abilities and talents to the scholarship committee. By accentuating your strengths through your writing, you will be able to effectively communicate that you are a deserving candidate for their award.
Strive to illustrate your strengths and experience when writing essays for a scholarship application. Throughout your life, you continually discover your talents and abilities. As you develop these talents, they become your strengths in life. Try to demonstrate multiple strengths in your essays. Possible topics that you could illustrate in a scholarship essay include service, leadership, academics, arts, athletics, entrepreneurship, creative talent, leadership, diversity, challenges overcome, and community involvement. Decision-makers for the scholarship program will see your strengths and abilities as reasons why you are worthy of a scholarship.
Add Variety to Your Strengths
Convince selection committees that your talents and experiences are expansive. Demonstrate the variety of your strengths by dividing them into categories and highlighting each one. Below are examples of how you can emphasize the following strengths:
- Service by describing service projects you performed for your church, community, and school or work
- Leadership by outlining leadership positions in your church, community, and school or work
- Athletics by highlighting the top three sports that you excel in: football, soccer, tennis, cheerleading, track, field, or other
- Academics by specifying your top three academic subjects in school: math, science, history, civics, economics, English, or other
- Creative talent by explaining your talents: visual arts, music, dance, poetry, or other
- Any other talent or ability by identifying three ways you have demonstrated that strength in your life
Give Your Strengths Magnitude
In addition, you should show selection committees that you have developed each of your strengths extensively. Tell them how your accomplishments set you apart from others. Demonstrate the magnitude of your strengths by sharing at least three accomplishments within each category. We call this method of presenting your skills and accomplishments “powerstatements.”
Two important concepts govern the preparation of power statements:
- Highlight the skill you are presenting by using “power words,” such as motivated, organized, responsible, problem-solver, and other words that describe your particular strengths.
- Describe something you accomplished with the skill you are presenting. You may include a challenge you faced, actions you performed to overcome the challenge, and the results of your actions. Try to quantify the results of your accomplishments to show your value to a scholarship committee.
Some Examples of Power Statements:
I can achieve results. For example, I planned, organized, and led a charity project that packaged over 5,000 boxes of humanitarian supplies for victims of Hurricane Irene. The whole project was completed and shipped in one day.
I have organization management skills. For example, I reorganized my company’s manufacturing department, increasing yield by 15 percent.
I am an over-achiever. For example, I maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout college while working full-time, taking honors courses, and serving as the president of the Education Society on campus.
I am dedicated. For example, I won the city and regional championship in the 5K by training four hours daily to improve my running time by 45%.
I am creative. For example, I designed a new product line that increased my company’s revenue by $25,000.
By expressing the variety of your strengths, you will show that you are a skilled and well-rounded individual. By expressing the magnitude of your strengths, you will prove that you are accomplished in those areas of your life. Using power statements to deliver these messages will communicate your value with greater impact to selection committees. These applied techniques will create an essay that is more impressive and persuasive of your qualifications.
For more information about scholarships, see the following:
Letters of Recommendation
Scholarship Master Application
Topics for Scholarship Essays
How to Strengthen a Scholarship Essay
Finding Financial Aid on LDSjobs.org
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