Adapting Through a Leadership Role

2 Feb

The definition of leadership is “the action of leading a group of people or an organization.” When I reflect on my own leadership experiences, I am reminded that my peers saw me as a leader before I saw myself as a leader. When given leadership roles, you have to learn to own up to that responsibility. Someone believed in you, so you have to trust their instinct and believe in yourself. Being in a leadership position teaches you how to work with different people and personalities. You have to make difficult decisions, and you have to learn to work towards not only yours but other people’s goals.


When I started here at the UofA, I joined a sorority with over 200 people in it. The first semester was spent getting to know as many people as I could and learning about the organization. The first few months of being actively involved with the other members was a good way to get to know the culture of the organization. Once I found my place, I felt it was the right time to start working towards specific goals. When we were given the chance to apply for assistant jobs, I jumped on board. I was nervous to apply because I didn’t think I would get chosen as a new member. I was even more anxious when I found out I was selected to be the treasurer’s assistant. I immediately started questioning if I would know what to do or if I’d even be any good. The treasurer taught me what I was supposed to do and I learned a lot from her.

Applying for my first leadership position was a spur of the moment decision that ended up being a beneficial learning experience. I was exposed to a different side of the sorority I hadn’t thought about before because my position dealt with personnel outside of just the members, like the officers and advisors. I saw how the organization was managed. Just getting my foot into a new door helped me learn there’s more behind-the-scenes work that is crucial to the program’s survival.

After being an assistant, I was inspired to learn more and get involved with as much as I could. I took pride in the fact that my peers saw me as a leader, and when it came to electing officials, I was nominated and selected to be one of nine officers.

Being an officer, I worked with not only the members but with our advisors, parents, alumni, House Corporation, and National Headquarters. In my time holding a position, I oversaw almost 300 people. I was in charge of risk management, dealing with liability issues, upholding rules, and maintaining confidentiality.

The most challenging part? Looking at each scenario differently. I learned to work with a variety of personalities and viewed each situation through a different lens. Everyone has different things going on in their life, different opinions, and their own way of making decisions. For this reason, it’s important to understand that when you’re dealing with people, you have to be dynamic and open to looking at different perspectives. If you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you can better understand their actions.

Wilbur lead

In addition to my role as an officer in my sorority, I was also a member of Bobcats Senior Honorary. As a member, I had the opportunity to work in a more professional manner with alumni and faculty. Bobcats Senior Honorary allowed me to facilitate the planning and running of University of Arizona events. As a student, when you attend events and attend class, it’s not often that you reflect on everything that went into preparing for it. Most of the time, you’re experiencing the end product of what someone else spent time and effort on preparing. For example, the Bobcats worked with the Alumni Association to organize Homecoming. Being part of the planning and running of an event really helps you appreciate how much energy goes into the success of a final product.

I know firsthand that leadership can be scary, and it’s difficult to gain the courage to put yourself out there. That’s why it’s so important to take it slow and get comfortable with a group first. I highly recommend going on ASUA’s orgsync to find a club to join on campus. It’s a great way to get involved and it gets you closer to a chance at being a leader. If clubs aren’t your thing, maybe look for a cause you could be passionate about and start volunteering in the community. If you are you looking for ways to make money, apply for jobs and see where that takes you.

It’s not necessary for you to have a title to be a leader. Find something you love, work hard and take responsibility for your own actions, and inspire others to do the same.

People will see you as a leader and they’ll follow in your footsteps.

leader1 leader2

–Hannah McNeal

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