The Key to Leadership Success: Develop Your Leadership Mantra

A leadership mantra serves as a declaration of your values and beliefs. My leadership mantra is encapsulated in two simple phrases: Lead Change and Make a Difference. As an educator, I share my motivation with my students and challenge them to develop their own mantra. I had the honor and privilege of serving as a guest facilitator at the World Academy for the Future of Women ("WAFW") where I aided my students in cultivating their leadership skills. The purpose of WAFW is to promote and accelerate the advancement of women worldwide. WAFW student leaders have discovered the leader within and are making an impact in the world around them.

Each member of the WAFW participates in a service learning project which focuses on addressing one of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals. For instance, one student group, Green SIAS, is working to advance environmental sustainability. While, the Big Bang group serves as a think-tank which develops practical solutions to some of the world's most pressing social justice issues from eliminating the spread of HIV/AIDS to improving maternal health.

Each of my lectures focused on providing students with the practical tools and guidance needed to serve as global leaders and change agents. I focused on team-building, self-reflection, social justice advocacy, and servant leadership. At the conclusion of my course module, we celebrated the accomplishments of the students in the "Completion Ceremony." During my remarks, I challenged each student to leverage their influence, passion, and professional training to advance leadership for social justice:

"Congratulations to all of the World Academy for the Future of Women members for reaching this great milestone! You are the leaders of today, tomorrow, and the future. Now, is the time to take your leadership to the next level by--

Cultivating your gifts and talents. Each of you have a unique set of strengths. You are learners, creators, innovators, social entrepreneurs, and creative problem solvers. Therefore, your daily challenge is to be a wise steward over your strengths by raising the question: "What is in your hands to make a difference in the world?" Pause a moment. Take inventory of your strengths and then challenge yourself to unleash the transformative power within your hands. You have what it takes to leave the world a better place than how you found it. Why? Because you are a team of global leaders, one body with many members. Together, you are making a difference in the lives of many.

Becoming a servant leader. The servant leader is one who seeks to serve first and this passion for service motivates one to lead. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. characterized the essence of leadership as the drum major instinct by measuring greatness by one's commitment to serve. He stated: "by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve." There are many opportunities around you to serve whether it be reading to a child or working to end the spread of HIV/AIDS.

History has shown us that young people have been at the forefront of leading social change. Young leaders like yourself have worked to make the world a better place by using their problem solving skills.

Remember, we see a problem and we create a solution.

I wish you continued success on your leadership journey!"

How you lead matters. Leadership is deeply rooted in your values, ethics and beliefs. What is your leadership mantra?