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How To Craft Your Own Role Model

How To Craft Your Own Role Model

When I attended the National Leadership Academy for leaders of the National Association of Asian American Professionals, I had the honor to connect with Dr. Santa J. Ono, one of the speakers at the welcome reception. Dr. Ono is the first Asian president of the University of Cincinnati, and one of the few in the nation. Distinguished achievements under his leadership include the largest enrollment of 43,000 students in history of the university.

I was personally touched to hear from a well-established, respected leader that leadership is not about being the loudest person at the table.

Because many of us struggle in the workplace to find a good leadership role model, we often come across the loud, obnoxious person in the room, or the squeaky-wheel type of person.

That is not the type of person you are or a person that you want to be.

Our workplace diversity is increasing

As companies become more and more global, workplace diversity will increase and will be essential to a company's future success. Dan Schawbel, the Founder of, noted that the following four points are why diversity matters:

[Related: Finding the Right Mentor]

  • Diversity builds employers brand
  • Diversity increases creativity
  • Diversity encourages personal growth
  • Diversity makes employees think more independently

As the workplace diversifies, so will leadership styles

One size does not fit all.

President Ono’s speech resonated with the heart of my coaching principle of living a Leadership Lifestyle. Each of us is different and beautiful in our own ways. Some of us are shy and quiet. Some are bubbly and energetic. Still others are serious and square. One thing we all have in common is we thrive when we are fully ourselves.

Stop looking for a perfect leadership model. Create your own.

Each of us has our own unique style of leadership. Leadership is a choice. We all have a leader inside of us. The key is to define what your style is, own it, and align your actions with it. My favorite quote says it all:

[Related: Why Female Role Models Matter]

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde

Here are three simple ways to develop your leadership style

  • Observe leaders around you
  • List what you like and what you don’t like about each person’s style and why
  • Envision the leader you want to be

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


Continue learning with this Ellevate Playbook:

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