What makes a good leader: Insight from YLAI Fellows

By Bryce Kelly

While we know the L in YLAI stands for “leaders,” do we know what our leaders in YLAI stand for? In recognition of International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, 2020, YLAI Network members joined a conversation with nine YLAI Fellowship alumni from a variety of countries and specialties on the YLAI Network Facebook page to discuss what leadership and integrity means to them. The YLAI Network team chose some key questions and answers on leadership and integrity, shared below.

What makes a good leader?

Abbigale Loncke, Founder of MBW Energy Support Services, responded to this question. “A good leader is someone who is committed to the cause — whatever their cause may be. [They] exhibit leadership qualities such as honesty, integrity, confidence, the ability to inspire others, and a sense of humility. [They] should be willing to teach and [be] open to learning from others.”

Andrés Mora, Founder of Millennial Ecuador, agreed. “Inspiring people,” Andrés said, involves “motivation plus action. Being a leader is to believe in your core values and [to be] strong enough to overcome any challenge, to have coherence with what you express and what you do.”

Perhaps Rodrigo Biajoni, founder of Colaboradora, said it best when he said, “Lead by example. As a leader, you are responsible to establish the standards and build the company culture. It will [have an effect] if transparency and zero corruption are values clear to the entire team.”

How can we teach the youth to become better leaders?

Janeel Boon, Founder of Boon’s Computer Repairs, advised that leadership must stand on principles.

It is said that children learn by what they see, not what they are told to do. Therefore I am of the belief that the most effective way to teach leadership is with one’s life actions, reactions, character, etc. We are living in a time where opinions, misguided facts, uncontrolled behavior, and wavering standards are very loud and can quickly become noise to the youth — a more receptive ear — thus is our duty to counter such with meaningful messages. Leadership is the same in all stages of life; hence we must stand on principles. Strategies change but principles shouldn’t. Reward principles. Set standards, have clear consequences, and most importantly, reflect our code of conduct daily.

The conversation about motivating younger generations was also connected to the day’s subject of fighting corruption and promoting integrity.

If I would like to influence many other young people to fight corruption, how can I educate myself and others?

Alpha Sennon, Founder of WHYFARM, believes the key to fighting corruption is education:

[We] must start by narrowing in on which level of corruption you intend to address. May it be at the political level, business level, school system, etc. Start by understanding everything there is to know about the respective systems and understand what it looks like with corruption and what it should look like without corruption. Then get the youth around you to know and understand what you have learned and always start with the WHY. Explain to them WHY you are fighting this fight, WHY is it important and WHY are they (the youth) the ones to fight against it. A major aspect of fighting against corruption has to do with the people learning good values and norms and principles that encourage ethical behavior and frowns on dishonesty.

Thank you to all of the Fellows involved with the chat for providing key insight to leading with integrity! Continue the conversation on Facebook and check back for more resources regarding leadership skills.  How can you apply these ideas to your style of leadership? What are your core values? Who can you motivate to become a responsible leader?