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Leader in Training

October 22, 2010

In the past 2 days, I have had 2 wonderful interviews with the Director of the Journalism School and the Director of the Center on Public Diplomacy at USC for my graduate class, Leading and Communicating Change in Global Organizations.

The interview questions included discussing international assignments, personality traits useful working domestically and internationally and defining global leadership qualities. A question I didn’t have in my notes, which I asked both interviewee’s anyway was, is leadership learned or is it an innate set of personality traits? To my surprise, I received 2 very different answers.

My instinctual answer is of course it’s someones personality. The great leaders of today and in history tend to be passionate, charismatic, inspirational & share a common vision that is easily communicated to their followers. One of the interviewee’s confirmed what I believed, innate personality traits play a major role in leadership and and it would be nearly impossible to lead without them. When the other interviewee answered that leadership is learned, I needed to take a second and reflect on that idea (which I’m doing right now), as I fought against since the beginning of this course. This class has really opened my eyes to what is required to be a leader in such a flattened and global world. I will spend some analyzing these interviews over the weekend and blog some more ideas when I complete my midterm assignment.

I find this topic so interesting because I consider myself an aspiring (maybe global) leader and look up to the my interviewees as they have become exactly what they set out to be. I think it’s fascinating that it’s exactly what most of us want to do, but have trouble finding the courage to actually do it.

For a quick final note, after the interviews I am feeling inspired to move forth and challenge myself to let go of any resistance that is keeping me from following my dreams. At the beginning of the semester, my professor told us that these interviews would help shape us and be worthwhile. She was right.


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