I never imagined myself as a leader, but something that happened this past June convinced me otherwise. My attitude and volunteerism on post made me a candidate to sit at the Vice President role of the local spouses’ club. The mission of the nonprofit is to raise funds for a military dependent scholarship program as well as assemble welfare events for families on and around the military installation.
Since becoming a military spouse, I’ve been passionate about encouraging millennial military dependents to achieve their full potential–whether it be acquiring a college degree, landing the job of their dreams or anything else their heart desires. I’m convinced that we can do it all, even with the military in our lives.
That’s why this organization that raises scholarship money for military dependents became near and dear to me. It was a way for me, on a local level, to make a difference and contribute to the military community. I also took it personally because I wouldn’t have been able to go to college without scholarships. When I found a way to get involved, I wanted to do as much as I could and is the main reason I participate in on-post events.
Without even knowing it, I’ve been sharing leadership qualities with everyone around me. My passion was noticed by the other amazing volunteers of the organization and I received the nomination to run uncontested as the Vice President. I was so honored and excited to be a face of the club. It’s a wonderful challenge that I honestly didn’t see coming…me, a Vice President of something…whoa!
It’s actually quite simple to nurture your leadership skills and military life presents opportunities to exercise those skills.
Here are the 5 ways that this millennial milspouse built up those leadership skills:
1. Be a Team Player
Teamwork makes the dream work.
I heard that somewhere and it stuck. I absolutely love working in a team and I find that the best ideas come from brainstorming in a group. When you work strongly in a team, I believe that your top leadership qualities come out. I think it’s because as a natural progression, the skills that make you stand out in your team becomes visible and beneficial. Technology allows you to keep communication out and it is another way to work together.
2. Focus on Your Passions
If you are passionate about something, it makes it easy to take the lead. I think this is the one particular reason that helped me with being able to quickly fit in among the Board of Directors in the nonprofit organization. Although I didn’t have any background in a leadership position, my desire to assist was my best asset as well as my communications work in my jobs.
3. Be Truthful
Sometimes being transparent is a great way to nurture your leadership skills and to learn from others around you. I love to “keep it real” and think that it makes us all relatable.
It’s important to maintain your relationships with everyone within your organization and outside too. That’s why staying on the save level as all of your colleagues is an important thing to maintain success.
Honesty and open-mindedness is the perfect formula to help achieve the right character that adds up to a leadership role.
4. Take Time Off
Overworking can be a bad thing. It leads to burning out and unproductivity. When you take the opportunity to step away from time to time, it allows for you to recharge and refresh–and also be more human. Everybody needs personal days that take them away from their work. New activities and time off could actually lead to brand-new experiences that could contribute to your team. Also, with the world literally at our fingertips (aka smartphones), it actually makes it difficult to stop working, so unplug every once in awhile. It will help keep you sane too !
5. Never Stop Learning
There is a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. We don’t have to leave the comfort of our home to learn in a classroom anymore. You can work on an advanced degree or just take recreational online courses to get ahead and keep your skills sharp. There are also trade publications and other online resources you can read to be updated. Things can shift at a moment’s notice, especially in our time. Therefore, the more you digest and process, the more you can add to your repertoire.
As millennial milspouses, we should always be on the lookout for ways to help each other.