Last week, I attended the Young Women’s Leadership Summit put on by Turning Point USA. It was a gathering of 400 young conservative women who heard from some of the greats of the conservative movement and were equipped to go out and fight for conservatism. As brilliant as it was to have a conference full of young women who are breaking stereotypes left and right, I want to focus on the ‘leadership’ part of the conference. Here are the top 10 leadership lessons I took away from the summit.
1. Welcome the mundane and small tasks
US Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn said, “Many things that we call ‘mundane tasks’ prepare us for the magnificent.” Put effort into doing mundane and small things with excellency. The way you handle the small will develop the way you handle the large.
2. Keep learning new things and growing
Leaders are constant learners. You are ultimately the only person who can encourage or hinder your own growth. Read literature and articles that teach you new things and perspectives or help you learn more about your own, listen to speakers, get out of your comfort zone, try new things. You either push yourself to learn and grow or you become stagnant and ineffective
3. Develop a thick skin; seek out productive criticism
Whenever you’re in a position of leadership, people are going to be hateful and nasty. That’s okay. Learn to develop a thick skin, don’t turn molehills into mountains, and realize that people will always disagree with you. On the other hand, seek out productive criticism that helps you grow and become a better person and leader. It’s important to learn where we need to improve. Also, don’t be afraid of failure-it’s a part of life, and it’s how you learn.
4. Be assertive
Leaders aren’t passive. Be the first to shake someone’s hand, speak up at meetings, let your opinion be known. Be assertive, seek forward movement and work to climb up the ladder. Assertiveness is much more attractive than passiveness, and the payoff is better.
5. Stand by your principles
Carly Fiorina said, “Don’t let others tell you what to believe. Do not let others define you. EVER.” Know what you believe, know your principles, and even if the whole world is against you, stand by them. Leaders aren’t swayed by the weight of the world opposing them; they simply stand by what they know and believe to be true even more so.
6. Know why you believe in something and be able to defend it well
Patrice Lee said, “Part of being prepared for life is being able to say things that other people don’t necessarily agree with.” If you’re going to lead, be prepared to explain exactly why you believe in what you’re standing up for. Know how to defend your beliefs. You’re going to face huge amounts of criticism as a leader, so being able to clearly articulate exactly why you stand for something and being able to refute opposing arguments is important.
7. Time is a limited resource
Time is the one resource that is distributed equally between every person on this planet-use it wisely. Foster Friess gave some excellent tips on time management, such as keeping track of how you’re spending your time through a log or prioritizing your to-do lists to figure out what truly needs to be done right away. Many people don’t become the leaders they were created to be because of how they use their time. Invest the time you have wisely; it will always provide an excellent return.
8. Use social media as a platform
Social media is the best way to reach Millennials. Aubrey Blankenshep presented a series of questions to ask ourselves when it comes to our social media usage: What problem am I solving? What message do I want to amplify? What am I passionate about? Why should people listen to me? Finally, what is the end goal? Another piece of advice from Blankenshep was to, “Know who your audience is-if you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to no one.”
9. Find mentors and gain experience
Katie Pavlich said, “Good leadership starts with gaining experience.” Experience is one of those things you can’t skip past if you want to be a good leader. Not only is it important to learn and grow on your own, but it is also important to learn from those who have been where you want to be, the people who inspire you. Find those few people who truly inspire you, and then do your best to run within their circles and gain wisdom from them. Being able to learn from those who are more experienced than you is an extremely important leadership quality.
10. Be a relentless and joyful warrior
As leaders, we must be relentless in pursuing our goals and fighting for what we believe in. However, Charlie Kirk put it best when he said that we should be ‘joyful warriors’. You can get fired up and passionate about something, but fight from a place of joy and kindness; have a mindset of fighting FOR something instead of just fighting AGAINST something.