The Leadership Talks with Future Professionals 2– Elif DİLER
Since we’re still celebrating women’s day, let’s see a brilliant young woman’s take on leadership: Elif DİLER. Elif has not experienced the professional world yet. However, as you read, you will see how mature she is, how clear and confident and meaningful her thoughts are!
Knowing her since she was a baby, I am amazed and proud of the grown woman she has become! With her dedication, ambition, and sincerity, I am sure she will be a true leader.
Thank you Elif for sharing your thoughts with us. As a future professional, your answers mean a lot!
I am Elif and I am a 2nd year student in University of Toronto, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies. I have always been interested in art, but I have also valued science as I liked understanding the world in both an analytical and a conceptual way. So, architecture provided me a medium where I could explore the material world through abstract and artistic approaches. I am also interested in photography, film making and music. I believe that success is a personal concept that is achieved through filling our lives with what makes us happy. However, that does not necessarily mean that it does not concern the society or the world, since each individual’s actions, become a part of a greater formation.
· What does the concept of leadership mean to you?
By definition, “to lead” is showing -someone or something- the way to a destination by going in front of or beside them. So, leadership has a hierarchical undertone in its nature. However, for me, leadership is the act of influencing people to find their definition of success, which brings productivity and creativity.
· How would you compare a leader and a manager? Should a manager always be a “leader”?
I think managing is about governing an existing formation. It relates to controlling and organizing whereas leading brings development and inspiration. So, I believe that not every manager is a leader. A leader is aware of the fact that they serve their environment, and in the professional realm, the workspace.
· Which one would be more effective for a successful business and talent management, a leader who dictates what to do or an empathetic one? How?
An empathetic one. Empathetic leadership is about the ability to see the world through one’s eyes. A business is a teamwork. It requires multiple people to achieve one common goal. However, each individual has their own perception. That is why it is crucial for the leaders to allow and guide these perceptions, and this can only be ensured through empathy and understanding.
· What kind of workplace would you like to work at by means of management approaches, what they offer to the employee, company culture etc.?
I would like to work in an environment where each individual’s value is acknowledged. I visualize a business as a living organism. A healthy organisational structure is accomplished where each employee’s contribution is recognized. This also increases motivation in the workplace. I believe that everyone has something to offer with the guidance of a good leader.
· How would you react if you were bullied, overstressed by your colleagues and/or superiors, or when your knowledge, abilities and work are not acknowledged?
I would not be able to work in such a workplace. I believe in self-development and, in my workplace, if I am not acknowledged for something I do well, it means that I am not making any progress. I work hard to reach a better version of myself and that includes my position at work. This is not about self-valuing nor dependence on others; however, we have to admit that we exist when others see us. Bullying is also something that I would strictly oppose. I believe that these practices would not be allowed in the existence of a good leader.
· How should a leader’s approach be about mental health at work?
I think if there are issues in a workplace about mental health, it means that there is a company culture problem. Firstly, a leader should be able to understand the roots of the issue. Also, this relates to the importance of empathetic leadership. I believe that even the minimum act of acknowledging that someone is going through something can have major positive outcomes.
· How do you think the education system and the business world should evolve, especially considering the Covid 19 era?
This is a question I can relate a lot since I have been doing online school for almost a year now. We are home 24/7, looking at our computers while we have minimum social interaction, which can become overwhelming at times. I also feel the lack of energy which was something that used to increase my motivation. Even though things have become individualistic, online learning or business work pretty well according to my observation. Technology allows us to do many things. For example, as an architecture student, I was very sceptical about online project critiques since we would normally hang all of our drawings on the wall and guest architects would give us feedback. But now we have an online pin up board, which exactly mimics our critiques. So, I think, technically, there will not be any problem adapting the workflow. However, the importance of social interactions should be something to think about when it comes to mental health, since work and school are the main places where we interact with people.