Everyone wants to be a leader.
We all want to learn from the best and yearn to be mentored by current business leaders, particularly in the young professional community.
Should becoming a leader come with a hefty price tag for young professionals?
The “price of leadership” was the on-line discussion on Webcast One’s “Insight on Business” hosted by Michael Libbie this afternoon. A question came up about “emerging leaders” and the United Way’s Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI) was mentioned. I will also include the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute (GDMLI) as another leadership training program that is available here in Des Moines.
Both entities strongly believe that any one who signs up will learn how to be a leader and gain valuable insight from business leaders, how companies are operated, and how to lead in a community. A lot of people I know, including friends and colleagues have taken these classes.
The roadblock that I run into is “am I paying to learn how to be a leader” or “am I paying to ‘belong’ to a group of leaders”? If I’m going to pay on how to be a leader, I would enroll at Drake and take leadership courses. Or better yet, I can learn about leadership, for free, with the organizations that I’m currently involved in.
The price tag to sign up for ELI or GDMLI has been the biggest roadblock in my view. I’ve always wanted to do them, but I have to take into account of the following:
- the most I ever earned was roughly $30,000 since college (not a lot of spending $ to bankroll such an opportunity),
- spending nearly $2,000 per year for diabetes supplies (insulin, test strips, additional medicine),
- and none of my past employers showed interested in financially supporting and encouraging their employees to participate in programs like this.
I feel that if young professionals want to learn about leadership and are financial unable to sign up for ELI, GDMLI, or any other venture, they should join non-profit organizations that are in need of volunteers and board members. I’ve served and volunteered for two groups for over 4+ years, and starting my 2nd year serving on my college alumni board. I’ve learned “on-the-job” about leading a group of volunteers, planning on strategy and events, and having a voice on a leadership board when decisions have to made.
In effect, you get a free education and real-life lessons in leadership with groups like the MS Society of Iowa, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Iowa, and the American Diabetes Association (my organization). Those who are financially able and/or have an employer who wants them to succeed will benefit from ELI, GDMLI, Rotary Clubs, and others.
I feel that you get can get the same benefit by giving your time to groups that are sorely in need of volunteers and board members who want to learn about what it takes to be a leader in the community.