What type of Leader are you? HireNurses Guest Blogger: Yvonne Shih


What Type of Leader are you?

By: Yvonne Shih Boston College ‘15

You think you know yourself, but sometimes you need others to help you out.

Coming into freshman year three years ago, everyone I knew had been extremely active in their high school either through afterschool sports or club executive boards. I was not exempt from this category. Yet, as I took on roles similar to those of my peers, I seemed to fall into the category of being a quieter leader. This caused for much reflection, and forced me to ask myself: is it possible to be a good leader in society despite one’s inclination to be more introverted or extroverted?

As an introvert, I saw potential for more flaws in my leadership skills. It was hard to deliver a class presentation in front of nursing students without feeling my heart palpating out of my chest. Other times, I could hear myself stuttering while I explain my summer research project to nursing faculty members. It made me realize how scared I was of failure and also of the fact that I am sacred that I am not extroverted enough to make an impact.

When I joined the Massachusetts Student Nurses’ Association (MaSNA) my sophomore year in college, I did not know a lot about the organization. I only knew that it involves working with nursing students from different colleges/universities in Massachusetts and we were in charge of providing professional development opportunities and resources.

I applied to be MaSNA’s legislative chair, simply because I was interested in seeing how nurses can affect public policy. My motive to be a part of this student nurse association was different from my motive to join the Red Cross Club back in high school, which was to show colleges/universities that I was a leader. I did not want to be the president of MaSNA in the future. Why? The answer, at the time, was— how was I supposed to lead a state chapter? I could not see myself take on such an important position at all. Thus, I never felt it was even possible to be in that kind of leadership role.

So how did I end up as the president of the Massachusetts Student Nurses Association today? I was able to see that I will not be leading this student organization alone through the help of previous MASNA Board of Directors (BOD) and Faculty Advisor Dr. Judith Rothschild. I tirelessly explained to them that I do not feel like I can lead, because it has always been hard for me to take command of a room. In addition, I already knew what I was good at; I was a great supporter for any president. Thus, I stubbornly argued that I would feel more comfortable working under someone. However, the MaSNA Board of Directors and Faculty Advisor gave a counterargument that I still remember from this day. They said that I was already a leader. They told me that I had stayed true to myself these past two years in MaSNA, learned how to network at conferences, and helped to plan for Career Forums. I realized then that I had undergone a leadership transformation. I will always feel more comfortable playing the supporting role and staying more introverted around people. However, my passion to provide resources for student nurses in Massachusetts and the opportunity to work alongside other student leaders in the MaSNA have allowed me to unlock my leadership potential. MaSNA has pushed me to recognize that there are times to step up, but there will never be a time to step back in passivity. In the words of the great Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the World.”

We become the change when we stop fearing future failures. Every one reaches an individual epiphany about his or her leadership role, when he or she decides to move past the personal limits. There are many types of leaders and different ways of leading. This statement holds true while we attend nursing school and it also applies to our future work environments whether we are at a hospital, clinic, or third-world country. Nursing is a profession in which its body of workers learns how to balance between being the leader and being the supporter. After a nurse learns how to balance his or her role in an organization, this nurse understands how to be a team player and advocates for the surrounding community of patients and fellow nurses. Everyone is a leader, so what type of leader are you?

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