The ability to be a leader among one’s peers can set a job candidate apart as someone with true potential to rise through the ranks of a company.
This blog is part five of Transitions’ series on Qualities Employers Look for in Job Candidates. Every person has something great to offer a workplace, including young people with autism and learning disabilities. There are certain universal qualities that all top employees possess, regardless of their industry or job level. This series will present a few of those qualities and the ways in which you as a parent, teacher or service provider can help teach them to the young adult in your life with autism or other learning disabilities.
This week’s installment focuses on the quality that can make the difference between a short-term, low-level employee and a long-lasting rising star: leadership skills.
Leadership skills are important for any candidate who wants to advance through the ranks of a company during their career. Employers seek out leaders for their confidence, ambition and ability to motivate others as well as themselves to do the best job possible. Strong leaders show proficiency at:
- Speaking up for themselves and others
- Self-starting on projects
- Taking the initiative to seek out new opportunities to advance and expand their job role
- Thinking outside the box
- Increasing their productivity by prioritizing, organizing and delegating tasks appropriately
- Seeing tasks through from beginning to end and ensuring they are completed to the best of one’s ability
How You Can Help:
- Seek out mentors and special classes or lectures that can teach your young adult the qualities of a good leader and how to implement them in all situations.
- Seek out classes, camps and special projects designed to teach students how to think creatively and solve problems through teamwork and innovation.
- Holding leadership positions in clubs and organizations gives young adults the opportunity to make decisions on behalf of their peers, listen to feedback, brainstorm solutions and advocate for change that benefits all.
- Experience with leadership can also be found through more one-on-one opportunities, such as tutoring, student ambassadorship, becoming a residential assistant, peer mentorship, Big Brother/Big Sister-type programs, etc. These give young adults the chance to advocate for others, take a direct role in mentoring their peers, provide conflict resolution, think outside the box and act as a role model.
- Projects in school and extracurricular activities can give young adults the chance to practice public speaking, project management and events coordination – skills required of leaders in fields of all kinds.
Anyone can be a leader, regardless of their abilities, challenges or experience level. Some people have inherent leadership skills, but many do not – and it is possible to teach these skills to anyone who wants to advance their ambitions. All it takes is patience and determination. For more information about Transitions and how its programs help young adults with autism and learning disabilities discover their potential as leaders, contact us at (518) 775-5384.
About the Author:
Gina Warsaw teaches Career Success courses at Transitions, which cover professional presentation, preparing resumes and cover letters, job searching, basic job skills, interacting professionally in the workplace and more. She has almost 30 years of experience supporting people with disabilities to reach their life goals, including more than 10 years focused on helping people transition into integrated community employment opportunities. Gina is currently the Director of Day Supports at The Arc Lexington.