Leadership tips for young people

BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2020 - 12:00am

I have been asked this question repeatedly in the many webinars I have been giving these days. “Sir Francis, if you can talk to your 24-year-old self, what would you tell yourself?”

I would say to my 24-year-old self, “Francis, you are so stupid. You wasted a lot of time, and you have done stupid things thinking you were cool. You should have just bought yourself a cooler.”

I see a lot of laughter in the multi-screen faces of my audiences, followed by almost non-stop chats indicating a laughing emoticon or “LOL!”

I figured I better present some early leadership lessons to young people so that they do not have to one day say the same thing and express the same sentiments I did. Rather than brashly entitling my presentation with: “How Not to Be Stupid,” which would, of course, be distasteful, I would tweak it a little and entitle this: “LEADERSHIP TIPS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE.” There, that sounds better.

COVID-19 has challenged all of humanity tremendously. While this pandemic has altered the way we think, live, and behave, there is a need to articulate these timeless principles that young leaders need to embrace to attain sustainable success no matter what the seasons of life offers:

Every economic downturn will find jobs scarce, and starting pays lower. And so, we need to start with this one:

1. Respect your entry level job.

No job is beneath you. Do not be impatient and demand immediate results. Gain all the experience you can get and be willing to take on different jobs to make you a more well-rounded person.

2. Invest in personal growth and development.

Save up on spending money except on books, programs, and seminars that can provide you with ideas on growing. There is a wealth of material out there on the web. However, you need to select those that are helpful and legit.

3. Focus on your job and do it better.

Do not be distracted. Many young people could not hold their jobs longer because they get bored quickly and always want to start and try new things. What happens is they become professional starters but have not achieved any degree of competence, much less expertise.

4.Work very long, work very hard.

Self-explanatory. Trash the thought of working smart. As a beginner, you are not that smart yet, so the road to “smart” is “hard’ combined with “long” and continuous personal growth and development.

5. Ask questions, and take notes.

I notice that many Taipans and Tycoons always carry either a notebook or a handy recorder with them, and they take notes. These accomplished and successful magnates still ask many questions, and they want to learn as much as possible. Maybe this is why they are accomplished and successful magnates today.

6. Be serious with your career growth.

Take the long view, while most young people’s long view only covers paycheck to paycheck without having any vision for the future. Envision where you will be a few years down the road and strategize on how to get there.

7. Be reliable and be dependable.

You build your credibility. Be reliable. Make yourself indispensable to your boss and help make him or her successful. Understand one principle in life. If your boss goes up, you go up, and he or she finds you useful, then your boss would want to take you along too.

8. Be creative and show initiative.

The more you read, the more you learn, the more options you have in solving problems. Show initiative to make things happen and clear this with your boss. One caveat here that is important is that even if your boss forgets to give you credit, do not let this floor you. Do not work for the recognition but work for accomplishments and achievements.

9. Be proud of your work and the company you work with.

Do not badmouth your boss or your company even if you are not happy with certain occurrences and experiences. Trust me. Every single negative thing you say will go back to haunt you.

10. Exercise good people skills.

Be good to your colleagues. Be a team player. Help them and invest in relationships. You never know when they might be your boss or partners in some projects or endeavors in the future.

This early life, you need to exercise these self-leadership principles. And for the final touch, be honest and trustworthy at all times and learn to enjoy the process. These ideas are cool if you adhere to it and yes, this would make you avoid being... you know the word... stupid!

(Connect with Francis Kong at www.facebook.com/franciskong2. Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 DZFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch,’ the classical music station.)

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