One of AIESEC’s core leadership qualities is empowering others. But what does it mean to empower others? Does it mean doing something for yourself or for them? Well, it’s not for them. You don’t do it for yourself. It’s always about the bigger picture. It’s always about the bigger purpose.
It was early 1900s in Colonial India when the peninsula was still under the British Rule. Britain’s Salt Acts prohibited Indians from collecting or selling salt, a staple in the Indian diet. Citizens were forced to buy the vital mineral from the British, who, in addition to exercising a monopoly over the manufacture and sale of salt, also exerted a heavy salt tax.
Although India’s poor suffered most under the tax, Indians required salt. Defying the Salt Acts, Mohandas Gandhi reasoned, would be an ingeniously simple way for many Indians to break a British law nonviolently. Gandhi declared resistance to British salt policies to be the unifying theme for his new campaign of “satyagraha” or mass civil disobedience.
It was not long after that everyone got unified that India sought independence. This brings us to the common point that to achieve greater things, doing things alone will never be enough. The more you engage with the people around you, the more you will see the power of unity being exercised to great lengths.
As young people trying to gain leadership skills, all of us tend to forget that leadership is not just about empowering ourselves but empowering others and that’s exactly what Gandhi did and won his battle. He is known to be one of the greatest leaders and following his trail and engaging with others to achieve a bigger purpose is what will lead to empowering others and being great leaders ourselves.
So here’s to embracing the potential of engaging and empowering others in order to see leadership flourishing. For we either stand together or don’t stand at all.14