back to top

How To Be A Leader

S. Nakano - LDR 2010

Posted on

Hello! :)

My name is Shiho Nakano, and I am an international student in USF from Japan. I am a senior, majoring in Psychology. I like traveling, and trying new things like foods and lots of places! Yes, as you guessed, I love Sushi so much

My leadership philosophy is “people are power, differences in people are a huge power. Loving these differences of others is the greatest power!” This statement contains several leadership styles of mine. The first component is inclusiveness, which means understanding and encouraging the difference of people in terms of their culture, views, ways of thinking, values, beliefs and perspectives. Instead of focusing on the difference to distinguish and judge people for their differences, considering good aspects of their differences sometimes can let us reach to an incredible achievement. This is because people with different perspectives and cultures have their ideas that you will never come up with. In addition, I often emphasize the importance of positivity as my leadership style. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying we should never see the bad and negative things, but I strongly feel that being positive is definitely the key to be successful as a leader. bringing positivity can enable us to create a positive environment where people can work hard to be better, and people shows that they care about the shared purpose. Positivity also creates a great relationship with others, because who doesn't like and who doesn't want to involve with happy people! Lastly, I am a problem-solver, as opposed to an idea-giver. I personally like to see a lot of details in the situations and like to come up with the solutions and changes we can make. When we are trying to achieve our goal, there are always going to be obstacles and problems in front of us, so I think a problem-solver can be considered the important position who tackles to those potential issues. Before taking the Leadership Fundamentals course, I would never have considered myself as a potential leader, because I used to think that leaders have to be solitary, genius, and perfect, such as Steve Jobs. He is on top of everything, and he decides things mostly by himself, rather than discussing with his employees. I, sadly, does not fall into any characteristics of “my ideal leader”, so I used to think being a leader is so far away from me. However, while learning in this course, I have realized that leaders can be in any forms, as long as they are dedicated to striving hard to reach their goals. In addition to a leader with perfection, I think a person who fails a lot and struggles a lot can be an as great leader. achieving the goal, no matter how many times they have failed can show people the importance of being persistent, dedicated, and being honest.t.

My Core Value

My core values, that are fundamental to my actions and thoughts, are family, harmony, learning, and diversity. Firstly, I consider family as one of the most important things in my life. Every possible actions and decision I make, the first thing I think about is what my family would think of me doing it. My rightness and wrongness are mostly based on what my family has taught me, and that would not be able to be changed. my family gives me a purpose for my life because the primary reason why I challenge to do new things and to explore new adventures is to honor my family for the respect of raising me patiently and providing me abundantly. The second core value is harmony. This is heavily influenced by the collective culture of Japan I grew up because we emphasize the harmony of the community, and we make sure the community is run well without flaws. I believe that it is important to think about other people around you, care about them even if you are not close, or you are not an acquaintance. Compassion is also a huge part of the reasons why I value harmony. I think humans are not able to function well alone, and we always need people around. Giving and getting the compassion is a necessary aspect for me because people rely on each other when having negative thoughts and emotions, and that is the most effective way for me to get over the emotional obstacles. the third core value is learning. I believe that I will continuously learn something every day for my entire life because there will be always something new in front of you. The more you explore new things, the newer things and new perspectives will be ahead of you. It has become one of my core value because of my grandfather. He used to tell me how important to have skills and knowledge to survive with his stories about him when he was a soldier during World War II. He was assigned to the list of soldiers for Kamikaze, which was guaranteed 100% rate of death. However, because he was a graduate of an industrial high school in Japan, he was skilled and knowledgeable about mechanics. This is the only reason why he could get out of the Kamikaze list because they wanted him to make weapons instead. The last value is diversity. It used not to be a core value to me, but coming to the U.S. for studying abroad truly changed my perspective on diversity. Interacting with people from so many different countries and cultures made me realized how narrow my perspectives used to be, and I am glad that I have met lots of friends who changed my perspectives for that.

Takeaways from the class

Although there was a lot of things I have learned from this class, in terms of the concepts and theories, I picked 5 takeaways I actually got to experience in the class or outside the class while learning the concepts!

1. Leadership can be practiced!

Disney Pixir / Via

One thing I learned in this course is “leaders are not born, leaders are made.”, and throughout this course, I came to the realization that this is very true. I used to think I am not the leader type of person and I will never be like that. However, as learning about the leadership, I realized what matters the most is to practice, and put yourself in the situation where you can practice to be a leader all the time. Sadly, we cannot be a leader on the next day you wake up suddenly, so as same as any other skills, leadership should be practiced.

2. Don't assume before doing

rhogif / Via

I realized myself that I have a bad habit of assuming things before experiencing it. As a small example, I used to assume that reading textbook or books, in general, is a waste of time. Therefore, I struggled a lot to start reading, but once I started it, there was a lot of helpful information that I can apply for other things. This and other experiences throughout the course has taught me I would not be able to understand things unless I experience it.

3. Leading people is not making in your own way

justadameinacruelworld / Via

As I stated in the introduction above, I used to think that leaders are the ones who order what they want to people and don't listen to others. However, learning in this course taught me an effective leader should not be the way, but rather, they should be the one who listens to others, and integrate ideas from followers. I have felt that it is an important component in terms of learning the leadership because Professor McLean was all about listening to others, and dig into the ideas of others to have effective conversations. This is when I realized the importance of including others to perfect on making one great idea,

4. It is important to understand yourself, especially your strengths!


In chapter 4, we have learned the importance of understanding ourselves, along with learning our own strengths. As I found out my strengths, I felt more comfortable with myself and more confident about myself. It is especially because I used to think the only thing I must do is looking for the weaknesses and trying to fix them, and every time it didn't work, or I found myself doing the same thing again, I was losing my confidence one by one. Knowing what you are strong at gave me not only the confidence but also the boost to step up to the next level.


giphy / Via

This is the biggest thing I have learned in this course because I have always thought leaders are the chosen one. I learned that leadership occurs at any level, and in any situations. Everyone has the characteristics and potentials to be a leader, but being a leader or not depends on the circumstance of having opportunities to do so. When you start bringing people to the positive change, you are already a leader!!!


To sum up, even though experiencing the struggles of being a leader is possibly the best way to learn to be an effective leader, I believe that I got provided the indications of my actions when it eventually comes to leading people through being exposed to an abundant of concepts of leadership. Also, I think it was very valuable to understand that there is no right or wrong in leadership so that I will be able to remind myself that every challenge and every failure means a lot in order to take a huge step toward being an effective leader.

With the knowledge I have got in this course, I intend to try every possible change that I can lead something around me without being afraid of challenging, and without thinking that “someone will do it not me”.

Others will be able to expect patience and inclusiveness from me as a leader. I believe that it is an important step in order to learn through failure and that opportunities should be provided to anyone. As a leader, I will be patient as much as possible to give people chances to learn by experiencing and struggling with their challenges. Also, inclusiveness is one of an essential aspect when it comes to having an effective leadership because I believe that the best idea comes from integrating ideas of people from different values, perspective, and cultures. As a leader, I will be striving to be the best in terms of including others, giving a diversity in the group, and considering the differences of people as the greatest power that leads us to create the best world.

This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!
The best things at three price points