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Takeaways From CatalystX: Inclusive Leadership

This week, CatalystX started its rerun of its edX course, “Inclusive Leadership Training: Becoming a Successful Leader.” The inaugural course generated over 40,000 registrants from over 200 countries. Throughout the duration of the course on Facebook and discussion boards, many learners shared their own winding journeys about inclusion, diversity and feelings of otherness and the positive impact that learning about inclusion and inclusive leadership has made in their personal and workplace lives. We thought you might enjoy the edX learner story below from Waqar Haider. 

Many of us believe that leadership is an intrinsic attribute which every leader possesses at birth. But the truth is that while one may be born with certain qualities, everyone can learn to improve his or her leadership skills.

Everyone has unique skills and abilities—and specific experiences in which they’re revealed. Sometimes experiencing tyranny and oppression can reveal who you really are. Nelson Mandela is a hero of mine because he was sent to jail for almost 30 years for fighting for his countrymen and their rights. He is now known as a Founder of Democracy in South Africa and around the world.

Most of us are not tested like Nelson Mandela. But we can all follow his example within our own lives. Catalyst’s Inclusive Leadership Course taught me a great deal about everyday leadership. Before I took this course I thought that leadership couldn’t be taught; now I know I was wrong.

This course taught me the true meaning of inclusion. I want to cite an example from my personal life as well. I have been involved in a number of societies and NGOs during my university days, and have been site leader for a number of events. I used to command my team like a dictator, but after taking this course I was able to better understand my team and become more comfortable listening to my fellow team members. In the end, listening to other points of view has made me a much more effective leader.

Another tool that helped me become a better leader was Catalyst’s EACH formula. “E” taught me to empower myself and my team members by showing that I trust them. “A” showed me to take accountability—and hold others accountable—and now my team members work with more zeal. “C” taught me to show courage in my own judgment and faith in my team members. And “H” taught me to inspire my team members by modeling humility in the face of my own mistakes. Overall this formula empowered me and my team to work with more passion, courage, respect, and efficiency.

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to take this course, and grateful to Catalyst for offering it. Besides showing me that great leadership is something you can learn and practice, and not just a trait you are or are not born with, it has made me a much more effective leader than I was before.

Waqar Haider is an electrical engineer, a Cultural Ambassador of Pakistan in the United States, a core member of the US Alumni Network, and an Executive Council member of the Pakistan-US Alumni Network in Pakistan. While in the United States, he has worked for a number of local community groups and served as a site leader on the MLK Day of Service.

The views expressed herein are solely those of the guest blogger and do not necessarily reflect those of Catalyst. Catalyst does not endorse any political candidates. The post and the comments are presented only for the purpose of informing the public.