I have learned that the most effective leaders are those who believe in their own leadership. And not just in their ability to lead, but also in their right to be thatperson leading others. Which is why program coordinator and leader are not necessarily synonymous. There are a lot of SANE programs that have coordination but no leadership. But even in cases where you find yourself in a coordinator role you never asked for, developing and honing leadership skills is critical for program sustainability.
Effective leadership begins with self-confidence, and while no one can actually give you confidence, you can begin to cultivate it from within. I love that the HarvardBusiness.org has a posting on this today over at their Leadership at Work blog, because it reminds all of us that this leadership thing is a challenge for everyone. It's not a woman thing, it's not a nursing thing, and it's not a non-profit thing. It's a people thing and like many other skills, it requires some study and some practice. And I don't buy the argument that either you have it or you don't. Sure some people are born leaders. Some people are born straight-A students, too. But that doesn't stop the rest of us from working ourselves silly trying to keep up with the natural talent.
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